By Mike McCombs
Nearly two years after then-Commodore Brian Patrick closed the 64th annual Water Festival on Sunday, July 21, 2019 after the Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats, Beaufort’s signature festival returns after a year away thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re all pretty excited after a tough year, when everything was canceled,” Beaufort Mayor Stephen Murray said Monday. “We’re ready to get back into the park.”
Murray commended Commodore Eric “Tank” Morris and his dedicated all-volunteer staff.
“It has gone phenomenally,” Morris said. “The crew has done a wonderful job – 10 months of planning in just three months.”
Morris’ group had made loose plans, nothing concrete, knowing they might have to hit the ground running at any time.
“There were challenges along the way,” Morris said. “We’re super excited to kick this off on Friday. We’re having fun.”
“When we approved it back in March, the city still had masking and there were state restrictions,” Murray said. “There was no crystal ball for July. We had to say, ‘let’s plan for a normal festival and hope things are back to normal, but if things aren’t safe, we’ll have to dial things back.
“We all wanted to happen, but more importantly we wanted it to be safe.”
For a full schedule of events, visit www.bftwaterfestival.com
Mike McCombs is the editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.
Photo by Bob Sofaly