Beaufort News

The Beaufort Water Festival starts Friday. What to know before you go

Most of the heavy lifting is done as Brian Patrick prepares to help oversee a production involving hundreds of volunteers, spanning 10 days and drawing thousands of people to the waterfront.

The 64th annual Beaufort Water Festival begins with the traditional performance by the Parris Island Marine Band and a fireworks display Friday over the Beaufort River.

Patrick, the festival commodore, has volunteered for the event the past 15 years after the U.S. Marine Corps brought him here in 2004. He said he was drawn by the festival’s small-town, community feel.

“You could go there,” he said, “and you know so many people, which makes the experience so much better.”

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Visitors won’t see many changes in the festival. That’s by design for a community that has come to expect the same events at familiar times, Patrick noted.

Among the differences this year: The ski show in the Beaufort River has moved from Saturday afternoon to Sunday to coincide with Children’s Day.

Country artist Tyler Farr will headline the Concert in the Park on Saturday night.

Festival organizers will have an eye on the weather and publicize any schedule changes. Storms forced the festival to shuffle its opening act in 2018.

Here are some important things to know for those going to Water Festival.

Getting there

Most events are held downtown at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park off Bay Street.

Parking is available at metered spots throughout downtown, including lots at the marina, Beaufort County Library and 500 Carteret St. Meter hours are from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Free parking is also available along the bluff on Bay Street.

Those who don’t want to park downtown have options.

A free shuttle from the Beaufort County Government complex on Ribaut Road is available for several events, including opening ceremonies and the headlining Concert in the Park.

The day dock on the east end of Waterfront Park near Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge offers boaters a free place to tie up.

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Tickets

Tickets for the nightly events are sold at the gate but also are available online at www.bftwaterfestival.com. Ticket pickup is at will-call outside the main gate starting an hour before the event. Organizers encourage people to buy tickets in advance for the Concert in the Park to guarantee entry.

Children 5 and younger will be admitted free.

Opening ceremonies and Hometown Tuesday are free, as are many of the events in the park during the day.

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2019 Beaufort Water Festival schedule

*Events in Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park unless otherwise noted.

Friday

Noon-7 p.m.: Arts and crafts market

7 p.m.: Opening ceremony. Fireworks and performance by Parris Island Marine Band. Admission is free. Gates open at 6 p.m. Free shuttle service from Beaufort County Government Center.

Saturday

8 a.m.- noon: Raft Race

9 a.m.-7 p.m.: Arts and crafts market

9 a.m.: Bocce tournament, badminton tournament

10 a.m.-noon: Children’s toad fishing tournament and sponsor’s expo. Tournament free and open to children 12 and under. Bring own fishing equipment. Bait is provided.

Noon- 4 p.m.: Free shrimp boat tours

8 p.m.: Concert in the park, featuring Tyler Farr, Copper Chief and Emily Ann Roberts. Tickets are $30; gates open at 7 p.m. No strollers, coolers or outside food and drink. Children 5 and under admitted free, and a free shuttle is available from Beaufort County Government Center.

July 14

9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Arts and crafts market

9 a.m.- 1 p.m.: River rally

11 a.m.- 3 p.m.: Children’s day. Games, activities, shows, bounce houses and prizes. Free admission.

Noon: Ski show

Noon-4 p.m.: Shrimp boat tours

6 p.m.-9 p.m.: Teen dance. Ages 13-17, ID required. Tickets are $10.

July 15

10 a.m.-7 p.m.: Arts and crafts market

8 p.m.: Motown Monday. Admission is $15, gates open at 7 p.m. Free shuttle service from Beaufort County Government Center. Children 5 and under admitted free.

July 16

10 a.m.-7 p.m.: Arts and crafts market

8 p.m.: Hometown Tuesday. Entertainment by Pluff Mudd Players and local artists. Free admission. Gates open at 7 p.m.

July 17

10 a.m.-7 p.m.: Arts and crafts market

7 p.m.: Talent show. Admission is $10 or free with an official 2019 64th Annual Water Festival T-shirt. Gates open at 6 p.m. Children 5 and under admitted free.

July 18

10 a.m.-7 p.m.: Arts and crafts market

6 p.m.: Lowcountry Supper. Cost is $15. Food served from 6-7:30 p.m. Entertainment TBA. Children 5 and under admitted free.

July 19

10 a.m.-7 p.m.: Arts and crafts market

5 p.m.: Bed race. $25 entry per team. 4:30 p.m. check-in. Same-day registration based on space.

8 p.m.: River Dance. $15 admission. Gates open at 7 p.m. Must be 18 or older. Free shuttle from Beaufort County Government Center.

July 20

9 a.m.-7 p.m.: Arts and crafts market

10 a.m.-noon: Water Festival Grand Parade. Downtown Beaufort.

Noon-4 p.m.: Nonprofit Expo.

1 p.m.-4 p.m.: Air show. Free admission. Stunt planes, U.S. Coast Guard demo.

8 p.m.: Commodore’s Ball. Cost is $10, gates open at 7 p.m. Children 5 and under are free.

July 21

9 a.m.-3 p.m.: Arts and crafts market.

Noon- 2 p.m.: Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats

Stephen Fastenau covers northern Beaufort County as a reporter for The Beaufort Gazette and The Island Packet, where he has worked since 2010 and been recognized with state and national awards. He studied journalism and political science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and lives in Beaufort.
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