Beaufort Water Festival

Festival crowd ignores heat, has a real cool time

Skiers with the Gatorland Ski Show keep an eye on each other as they perform in the Beaufort River on Saturday during the Beaufort Water Festival.
Skiers with the Gatorland Ski Show keep an eye on each other as they perform in the Beaufort River on Saturday during the Beaufort Water Festival.

Perched atop his father's shoulders, 5-year-old Micah Lang watched members of a Florida water skiing troupe glide across the Beaufort River with a hint of envy in his eyes Saturday afternoon.

"It's so hot," Micah said. "I just want to jump in. I don't want to ski, just swim."

Braving temperatures in the low 90s, Micah and his father Steve of Walterboro were among hundreds that lined the seawall Saturday afternoon at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park for the Gatorland Ski Show.

The ski show was among several events on the second day of the 55th annual Beaufort Water Festival. Other Saturday events included the annual raft race and sailing regatta, a badminton tournament and a concert featuring country music artist Jake Owen.

The team of water skiers from Gainesville, Fla., performed tricks such as the pyramid and flew into the air off a ramp parked in the river, much to the delight of Greg Bareen of Lady's Island.

"It's pretty impressive stuff," Bareen said. "If I was out there trying those tricks, you'd need an ambulance nearby and the emergency room on stand-by."

While some festivalgoers clutched bottles of water and constantly fanned themselves to beat the heat, others embraced the sweltering summer temperatures.

"It's not Water Festival time unless your shirt is sticking to your back a little bit," said Jerry Overton of Greenville. "I've been coming to this festival with my wife for almost 20 years and it's always so doggone hot. But what are you going to do? You can't turn down Mother Nature so might as well have a cold beer, relax and enjoy yourself."

The 10-day festival continues today with boat bingo, Coast Guard cutter tours and Children's Day, featuring rides and games throughout the park.

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