For the first time in recent history, Beaufort Water Festival organizers cancelled a night-time concert Friday.
"For the safety of everyone and the safety of our crew, we can't do it," program coordinator Bill Damude said minutes after festival command staff made the decision.
A severe thunderstorm rolled through downtown Beaufort about 5:30 p.m., just as the annual bed races were wrapping up, sending participants, volunteers and bystanders scrambling for cover as lightening flashed nearby and thunder rattled the area.
Standing in the pouring rain, bed race participant Kylie Gratton laughed off the weather.
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"I thought that water getting dumped on us would be bad, but that was nothing compared to this," she said, referring the tradition of throwing buckets of -- usually -- ice-cold water on the racers.
While power flickered at local businesses, festival volunteers scrambled to secure tents and equipment hammered by the rain and wind.
When the storm passed and the damage was assessed, officials made the call to cancel opening acts The Phoenix Drive Band and Marjory Lee, but hoped the main act, nationally performing country artist Eric Paslay, would go on.
But with more storms approaching -- advancing rain obscured views of the J.E. McTeer Bridge down the Beaufort River -- the decision to cancel was made. Tickets for Water Festival events are non-refundable.
"It was a difficult decision, but we are more concerned about the safety of our volunteers and the safety of our equipment and the safety of people who attend," Commodore Brandy Gray said. "Safety first is our first concern."
Saturday is a new day, however, she said, and organizers intend to have the festival back up and running.
Hope you didn't miss: A waterspout reportedly came down the Beaufort River by the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park during the first round of storms Friday night. Multiple volunteers said they saw the spout and attributed part of the damage in the park to the phenomenon.
Better not miss: DragonBoat Beaufort races return for a second year on a larger scale Saturday. Last year, 23 teams -- including cancer survivors and supporters -- raced on the Beaufort River next to the Waterfront Park seawall. This year, the race was moved to the second Saturday of the festival and up to 36 teams will race from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Volunteer of the day: Katie Jindrich
Katie Jindrich, 36, has volunteered at the festival for the past two years and she doesn't plan to let a little thing like moving to Japan keep her away next year.
"We leave for Japan in October, the end of October, but if I can work it out, I'm going to fly home here to Beaufort, and use my two weeks of vacation to work the Water Festival," she said.
Jindrich's husband, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Chas Jindrich, has been ordered overseas, and she expects they'll be stationed there for two or three years.
Soaked from running around in the storms Friday, Jindrich cheerfully explained her job working on the "hole" crew, making sure coolers with beverages are properly distributed and helping with the alcohol and beer tents. There were also a number of other odd jobs.
She was roped in the Water Festival family by Jan Partridge, this year's hole master, when Partridge and other volunteers helped out at the Lt. Dan Band concert a few years ago.
"She said 'I'll work with you for Lt. Dan if you work for me for Water Fest,' " Jindrich said.
Jindrich has found she loves volunteering for the festival and the chance to be busy and support th e community.
"I'm a stay-at-home mom of three boys, so this is my work, " she said. "I like to volunteer. It's hard for me to take a paycheck for something, so I give my time. ... if I know there's something that has to be done, I find it hard to sit back and take a breather."
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.