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Beaufort’s Shrimp Festival celebrates the mighty crustacean

By MINDY LUCAS

For a quarter of a century, the Shrimp Festival has served up delicious, mouth-watering morsels cooked in a variety of ways that would have made Forrest Gump’s pal, Bubba, proud.

In fact, the festival was started right after the famous film was released in 1994, as way to celebrate both the movie – which featured many scenes filmed right here in Beaufort – and the small but mighty crustacean that put Lowcountry cuisine on the map.

Now the Shrimp Festival is back with two days of food, live music and fun. About 10,000 people are expected to attend the event which will serve up a whopping 3,500 pounds of shrimp.

The festival will take place on Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort.

New this year – fresh, South Carolina wild-caught “Grab and Go” shrimp will be available for purchase right off shrimp boats along the park’s seawall.

“So you can go home and create all those great recipes the restaurants created at your own house,” said Blakely Williams, president and CEO of the Beaufort Chamber of Commerce.

The festival will run from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4, featuring a concert headlined by Deas Guyz, and again from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5.

The event will also include a craft market featuring local and handmade wares open from noon to sunset on Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The “Run Forrest Run” 5k Bridge Run/Walk will kickoff at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Motorists should expect the bridge to be closed from 8 to 9:30 Saturday morning.

Both days of the festival will feature tastings from a number of area restaurants and vendors. Prizes will be awarded for “best recipe” and “most creative recipe” so don’t forget to vote for your favorites.

Williams said one of the things people love about the event is the time of year.

“October is a great time of year to welcome fall tourists back to town and it’s also the kickoff for our restaurants and our lodging and hotel partners who love the cuisine and waterfront,” she said. “It’s going to be a lot of what we all know and love about the Shrimp Festival.”

Admission to the event is free. Food will be sold separately.

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