Beaufort News

Beaufort steps out for Tricentennial Parade

Hundreds lined the street of Beaufort's historic district Saturday morning to celebrate the city's 300th birthday.

Area residents snapped pictures and waved tiny American flags as the city's Tricentennial Parade crept down Boundary Street toward Bay Street. The parade was organized by city officials to commemorate the approval in 1711 of the charter that created "Beaufort Town."

The parade featured the Parris Island Marine Band, local elected officials and nonprofit organizations as well as Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling and City Councilmembers George O'Kelley, Mike McFee and Donnie Beer in historical costumes.

"That's not something you see everyday," said Beaufort resident Joan Cleary as the float moved by on Carteret Street. "I like it though. They're getting into the spirit of the Tricentennial."

One of the most popular participants in the parade was its grand marshal, actor Gary Sinise.

Residents held up their cell phones and digital cameras as Sinise waved to the crowd from atop the back seat of a red Chevrolet Camaro.

The actor was in Beaufort this week for the 2nd annual Lt. Dan Weekend, a series of events benefiting veterans severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan that included a concert Friday night in Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park featuring Sinise's 13-piece ensemble, the Lt. Dan Band.

The band is named after the double amputee and Vietnam veteran Sinise portrayed in the 1994 film "Forest Gump," parts of which were filmed in Beaufort.

"It's nice of him to come back to Beaufort where he is really adored by so many people for all he does for the troops," said John Robinson of Lady's Island, who also attended the concert Friday night. "He's a real patriot and we thought it was so gracious of him to stick around an extra day and do something nice like this for our city."

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Tricentennial Parade, Lt. Dan weekend to step off in Beaufort, Sept. 15, 2011