Bluffton Packet

Bluffton Village Festival: 33rd annual street fair returns with old favorites and an after party

What do a squirrel, pickles and a boy from Nashville have in common?

The 33rd annual Bluffton Village Festival.

This Mother's Day weekend, Bluffton proves it hasn't lost its "state of mind" or its Southern hospitality as it puts on a family fun-filled day in old town. More than 150 vendors and food purveyors are expected to line Calhoun Street for what has become a much-anticipated event. The festival is a principal fundraiser for the Bluffton Rotary Club, which recently beat out 80 other clubs in its district to win first place for the creative enterprise.

"This year our list of vendors is bigger than ever, offering a little bit of everything from one-of-a-kind crafts to fine arts and everything in between," said, Rotarian Lisa Carroll. "It's the perfect opportunity to head out with the kids and grab a last minute gift for mom."

There's plenty for young visitors to see, do, eat and drink, too.

In addition to artists and crafters selling their creations, the festival also provides a forum for many other charities to share information.

"We're particularly excited to have a display by ShelterBox this year," said the festival's chairman, Jim Hudson. "With the tsunami disaster in Japan and recent tornadoes across the Southeast, their services are in high demand."

Visitors will be able to view the organization's temporary housing "shelter box," which includes a family tent, water purification system and other essentials.

To help keep things cool for four-legged family members, Palmetto Animal League will be returning with their doggie pools. Back by popular demand, the Ugly Dog Contest, sponsored by May River Realty, will start at 1 p.m. on the front porch of the Sprouts store. The lucky winner will receive the coveted "love trophy," hand-thrown by local potter, Jacob Preston.

For the grand finale, the Calhoun Street Promenade will play host to an after-hours event. This good, old-fashioned "street party" promises to have friends and neighbors dancing until after sundown. Local band, JoJo Squirrell and the Home Pickles, regularly seen at Hilton Head's Tiki Hut, will be kicking things off with their mix of popular classic rock, featuring songs by the Eagles and the Rolling Stones -- followed by some boot-stomping country rock, compliments of Nashville's Travis Powell.

"This is the third year for the After Hours Party, which has proved very successful," according to Hudson, who said he is excited about bringing in some outstanding talent this year. "The proceeds from the sale of beer and wine at the event will go to support local charities, including Bluffton Self Help's capital campaign, so we encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the concert. It's for a good cause."