Beaufort News

At Water Festival, Beaufort teems with talent

Dancers from the Beaufort Academy of Dance Juniors group strike a pose during their performance at the talent show on Wednesday. They won first in Group - Category B.
Dancers from the Beaufort Academy of Dance Juniors group strike a pose during their performance at the talent show on Wednesday. They won first in Group - Category B. Staff photo

Gearing up for her final Water Festival talent show performance, Beaufort resident Courtney Hershberger wasn't nervous about taking center stage for the last time.

After all, it was her seventh year in the show.

The now the 17-year-old said her nervousness dissipated after her first time performing, when pre-show jitters nearly kept her from taking the stage. It didn't hurt that she's finished in the top three each of the last three years, including winning her age category in 2012.

Wednesday, she prepared to sing "I Have Nothing," the Whitney Houston hit, as her final song. In past years, she's sung the Simon and Garfunkel classic "Bridge over Troubled Water" and the Kelly Clarkson hit "Because of You."

"I remember all of it," she said. "I've had a great time here."

There were 27 acts in Wednesday's show. Of those, 10 of the singers were pupils of Beaufort resident Stephanie Pearce, who operates the Music From the Heart studio.

Pearce said she had trained several of her students, all female, for up to five years. Last year, five of the six entrants she trained won their categories.

"They're all exceptional singers," she said. "They can sing anything."

Being at the festival to warm up her students and cheer them on Wednesday meant missing her parents' 70th wedding anniversary, she said.

"It's a very special day for me, with my parents and my girls," she said. "I knew I had to be here at the talent show for them though."

Hope you didn't miss: Aside from the regular arts and crafts market and opening croquet rounds, Wednesday's talent show was the only other event on the schedule. John McGowan hosted the show, while Scott Gibbs -- one of the five judges -- sang the opening song for the 27 acts in Wednesday's show, the 39th annual talent show at the Water Festival.

Better not miss: Hope you bring your appetite today. Frogmore Stew is on menu for the Lowcountry Supper, which starts at 6 p.m. Admission is $15, and food will be served until 7:30 p.m. Entertainment at the Supper will include the Blue Dots and the Beaufort Whistlers, normally made up of past festival commodores. The Charlotte-based Eagles cover band On The Border will cap the dinner's entertainment.

Volunteer of the day: Josh Cole, 21, of Beaufort.

Cole, a member of the festival's stage staff, has volunteered for the stage and production crew for the last four years. On Wednesday, his job was to keep participants in the talent show inside the waiting area behind the stage, and make sure everyone was calm.

"I can't miss the festival," he said. "I always have to be here. It's cool stuff, and it's always fun."

Socially speaking: @GunnerSandifer, Gunner Sandifer: "Waterfest talent show! Werk @BeaufortDance"

The competitive edge: First rounds of the 9 wicket croquet tournament got underway at Waterfront Park Wednesday. The tournament will concludes today.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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