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Happy Fall, y’all: 17 festivals you can’t miss around Hilton Head, Bluffton and Beaufort

Fall is the season for festivals here in the Lowcountry, and we have plenty on tap this year.

It’s the best time of the year to celebrate some of our favorite things, like local craft beers, fresh shrimp and oysters, outdoor music, and nearly perfect weather.

Beaufort, Hilton Head and Bluffton all have unique events in celebration of the season, with several new festivals planned for 2019.

Here’s a guide to 17 fall festivals you should put on your calendar for the season:

Beaufort Shrimp Festival Oct. 4-5

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People participate in a shrimp heading contest at a past Beaufort Shrimp Festival. File Staff photo

The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Shrimpers Association team up for this two-day event in Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park where local restaurants serve up their best local shrimp from 6-10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m Saturday. Saturday’s event kicks off with the traditional Run Forrest Run 5k at 8 a.m.

Crescendo! Oct. 10 - Nov. 15

The third annual festival celebrating arts, culture, and history will be held Oct. 10-Nov. 15, with the opening ceremony at 5 p.m. Oct. 5 in Shelter Cove Community Park. For a full list of events, check out www.hiltonheadartsdaily.org.

Beaufort Food Truck Festival Oct. 12

The Lowcountry Jaycees are having a fundraiser to benefit Jaycee Camp Hope. Bring the family and spend the day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Beaufort Town Center.

Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival Oct. 12-20

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Old Town Bluffton was packed for the 12th annual Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Josh Mitelman jmitelman@islandpacket.com

Celebrate Bluffton history and the wonders of the sea during this week-long festival. If you enjoy paddleboarding down the May River, tasting fresh seafood, checking out Lowcountry art, or just kicking back to the sounds of local musicians, this festival is not to be missed.

Lowcountry VegFest Oct. 19

Don’t worry, veggie lovers, there’s a festival for you, too. The fourth annual VegFest kicks off in Shelter Cove Park with vendors, entertainment and educational speakers from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This event is a celebration of healthy, plant-based living.

Hilton Head Gullah Food Festival Oct. 19

In celebration of the local heritage that helped shape the island, the fourth annual Hilton Head Gullah Festival, featuring music, food and fun, will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head.

Habersham Harvest Festival Oct. 19-20

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Beaufort’s Jennifer Mader, with children Stephen, 5, and Zoey, 3, rides the 47-foot Ferris Wheel at the 7th Annual Habersham Harvest Festival on Saturday. Jay Karr jkarr@islandpacket.com

The annual festival celebrates Lowcountry values of family, entertainment and agricultural education at the Habersham Marketplace from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. This event includes music, local food, vendors, kids activities, and even a 47-foot Ferris wheel.

The Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d’Elegance Oct. 24 - Nov. 3

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Jim Grundy, of Horsham, Pa., along with his daughter, Gwendalyn, and son, Josh, sit with their 1910 Thomas 670 Flyabout at the Concours d’Elegance on Sunday. Jay Karr jkarr@islandpacket.com

For more than 17 years, the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance has drawn car, boat and more recently, airplane, lovers from all over the world to Hilton Head Island to celebrate man’s love of machinery with hundreds of timeless vehicles.

Concours is also one of the biggest social scenes on the island with fantastic fashion and delicious food.

Beaufort Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens Oct. 25-27

Visit a selection of private historic homes and gardens not normally open to the public. The houses represent three centuries of Beaufort architecture. These self-paced walking tours offer an opportunity to observe how contemporary lifestyles are lived within the framework of our architectural heritage. For the wine lovers, Friday night’s event “Wine Down” features a tasting.

OcktoPRfest Oct. 26

Celebrate Oktoberfest, Port Royal style from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with food, classic cars, live entertainment, a kids zone, and more.

Bluffton International and Craft Beer Fest Oct. 26

After a brief hiatus, the Bluffton Beer fesival is back and will be serving up lagers, stouts, pilsners and more from all over the world from 4 to 8 p.m. at Oyster Factory Park in Old Town Bluffton.

Hilton Head Italian Heritage Festival Oct. 26

This food-filled festival will feature live musical entertainment, a bocce court, grape-stomping contest, silent auction, raffles, a dunk tank, and more, all at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hardeeville Festival on Main Nov. 1-2

Check out this inaugural festival hosted by the City of Hardeeville on Friday, Nov. from 4-9 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Get ready for amusement rides, a rock wall, beer garden, kids zone, and more. Don’t miss the fireworks Saturday night!

Pat Conroy Literary Festival Nov. 1 -3

The event, which honors the legacy of Beaufort native Pat Conroy, will include various workshops tailored to authors, tours, panel discussions, book signings, and more.

Hilton Head Oyster Festival Nov. 8-9

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Sandy Clark, of Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks, keeps his eye on the prize as he cracks open another oyster during the 2015 Hilton Head Island Seafood Fest at Shelter Cove Community Park. Jay Karr Staff file

Fall means oyster season. Shuck and slurp buckets of your favorite shellfish while listening to live entertainment at the Shelter Cove Community Park. All proceeds from the event to benefit the Island Rec Center. Friday night’s event from 5 to 8 p.m includes all-you-can-eat oysters, while Saturday’s event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. will serve up oysters (and other fun foods) you can purchase in addition to a $6 admission fee.

Music To Your Mouth Festival Nov. 18-24

This seven-day culinary celebration features food from across the South with special events each day inside Bluffton’s Palmetto Bluff community. The main event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday Nov. 23.

Bluffton Book Festival Nov. 21-23

The Bluffton Book Festival will spotlight local and national literary talent. The public is invited to Calhoun Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 23 to meet and hear from authors, jam to local music and more. Other events for this celebration are scheduled, starting Oct. 5, when writers can pitch their best book deal.

Did we forget a big festival? Email us at mmatney@islandpacket.com.

Mandy Matney is an award-winning journalist and self-proclaimed shark enthusiast from Kansas. She worked for newspapers in Missouri and Illinois before she realized Midwestern winters are horrible, then moved to Hilton Head in 2016. She is the breaking news editor at the Island Packet.
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