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A Taste of Beaufort kicks off this weekend

Main Street Beaufort, USA, is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting downtown and working as a voice for small business owners. The group also sponsors and organizes various festivals and events throughout the year, including A Taste of Beaufort, which kicks off its 15th year this weekend.

Beth Caron and LaNelle Fabian of Main Street Beaufort, USA, get ready for this weekend’s festival.
Beth Caron and LaNelle Fabian of Main Street Beaufort, USA, get ready for this weekend’s festival.

Executive Director LaNelle Fabian, who has been at the helm of the organization for the past five years, said she is excited for the community and visitors alike come enjoy downtown during A Taste of Beaufort. “Two hundred 200 volunteers from the community come together to help put this event on and we couldn’t do it without them,” she said.

Events and Membership Manager Beth Caron just started at her position last December. Beth said, “I’ve been a volunteer for Main Street Beaufort for the past couple of years. LaNelle and I worked together at The Beaufort Gazette for almost ten years and I was more than happy to fill in when needed in May and June of last year. I believe in Main Street and the mission statement.”

LaNelle said they started planning A Taste of Beaufort at the end of 2013. “From selling sponsorships, to applying for licenses, securing the location, booking entertainment, contracting vendors, renting infrastructure, putting a call out to Arts & Crafts and restaurant vendors, and getting volunteers, it takes several months to put together the event,” she said.

The restaurants participating in this year’s festival include Bruster’s Ice Cream, Common Ground Coffeehouse, Emily’s Restaurant, Gilligan’s of Beaufort , Island Fudge Shoppe, Panini’s on the Waterfront, Papaya Thai & Sushi Bar,  Plums Restaurant, Q on Bay,  Sea Eagle Market, Southern Graces, and Yes! Thai Indeed.

LaNelle and Beth took time recently to answer some questions:

What is the most rewarding part of your job? What is the most challenging aspect of it?
LaNelle: I love when big projects (like Branding, and soon WiFi and Wayfinding signage) are completed. To know things that have been talked about for years are finally getting accomplished by MSB, makes me proud to work here. I also love to see people at events having a good time. I love the fact that they have no idea that we’re secretly freaking out inside over issues and that’s the way it should be. I love to know what I do puts a smile on people’s faces. I would say the most challenging aspect is the fact that we do so much. Many people think we just do events and we do so much more. I call what we do ‘spinning plates’ and I’m lucky to have an employee, a board of directors, and volunteers that love downtown as much as I do and help me keep those plates spinning.

Beth: There’s a couple of things that are rewarding to me. I enjoy selling memberships and sponsorships because I know I’ve built a relationship. It’s a great  feeling when you hear people say how much they enjoyed an event. All the hard work has paid off at that point. The hardest part for me has been learning the logistics of planning an event. You’ve heard the old saying, “it takes a village to raise a child?” It takes a village to have a successful event.

How did Taste of Beaufort first get started?
A Taste of Beaufort started out as a wine festival. A Taste of Beaufort was suggested because of the success of “Taste of” events in other cities and it provided the opportunity for us to showcase our local restaurants.

Any other hobbies or interested do you have that might surprise people?
LaNelle: I love to bake. No matter how busy or stressed I am, I love to bake for people. It’s a stress relief for me, when I’m baking, that’s the only thing I’m thinking about at that time. Plus food makes people happy, and I like to make people happy.

Beth: I play the piano. I used to play in church. I love digging for sharks teeth at the Sands and feeding the ducks at the small pond by Walmart. My daughter and I used to do that when she was young.

What is your favorite thing to do in Beaufort? What do you like most about our city?
LaNelle: I love to go out on the boat and to the beach. Basically anything to do with water. I love the fact that we can drive to Hunting Island or Fripp Island, stay a weekend in what seems like a different world, and it only takes 20-25 minutes to get home. I love downtown and the vibrancy and pride that the community has for their downtown.

Beth: My most favorite thing to do in Beaufort is go to the beach. It’s hard to choose just one thing I like most about our town. I love the oak trees, the water, the beautiful historic homes, the waterfront park, and our southern hospitality.

What are some things the community can expect from Main Street Beaufort in the future? Or, what are some of your goals for the organization? Main Street Beaufort has been working to revitalize downtown for 29 years. We look forward to WiFi in the Park, Wayfinding Signage, promoting downtown through events like A Taste of Beaufort and several others, working with property and business owners to get the right businesses downtown and partnering with several other organizations to make downtown the best it can be.

So when you bring your family and friends to enjoy local food and live entertainment in Beaufort’s beautiful Waterfront Park, take comfort knowing that these passionate people are at the heart of this event and are working hard to highlight this special place that we call home.

For more information about Main Street Beaufort, visit www.downtownbeaufort.com or call 843-525-6644 or stop by their office at 101 West Street Extension, Beaufort, SC, 29902, or like Main Street Beaufort on Facebook.

Here is a schedule of event for this weekend’s A Taste of Beaufort: Music, Arts & Seafood Festival:

FREE ADMISSION

Purchase food & drink tickets for $1 each
 to use at restaurant, beer/wine and soda booths. 
Items cost 2-7 tickets

FRIDAY, MAY 2

Noon: Arts & Crafts Market Opens

6 – 10 p.m.: Food & Beverage Booths Open

Live Entertainment by The Carolina Soul Band Performing sweet soul sounds of such legendary groups as The Drifters,
The Coasters, The Four Tops, The O’Jays, Little Anthony and the the Imperials,
Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and many, many more.
You’ll be clapping, dancing, and singing along with all your favorite songs
of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.

5:30 – 8 pm: Art Walk with 13 local galleries on Bay & West Streets

SATURDAY, MAY 3

8 am: 5K Bridge Run/Walk & Kids Fun Run
Register at 
http://www.active.com/beaufort-sc/running/distance-running-races/a-taste-of-beaufort-5k-bridge-run-walk-and-kids-fun-run-2014?keywords=na
or at Palmetto Running Company in Bluffton
or click to download registration here
2014 5K Bridge Run-Walk Registration
 Race Packet pick-up Friday 4-6 pm in Waterfront Park
(at the entrance from Downtown Marina Parking Lot)
 or Saturday morning prior to the race start at the Start/Finish Line

11 am – 5 pm: Food & Beverage Booths, 
Arts & Crafts Market and Childrens Area Open

Get your ‘Taste’ of local music with
Live Entertainment All Day on the Pavilion Stage:

11 am – 12:30 pm: Amber and The Fossils

1 – 2:30 pm: Trey’s Alien

3 – 5 pm: Broke Locals

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