By Tess Malijenovsky
It’s been a long year celebrating Beaufort’s 300th birthday, but now it’s time to wrap up the year with a bang. That’s why the city is kicking off Beaufort’s fourth century with a free, family-oriented New Year Eve’s event December 31, from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Waterfront Park.
This special community event begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park and will feature the noted singer Marlena Smalls with musical performances by Sumitra Stewart, Marlena Smalls and the Delbert Felix Trio, and choirs from Tabernacle Baptist, Carteret Street United Methodist and First Presbyterian churches.
Between musical productions, locals Anita Singleton-Prather, Bill Harvey Jr. and Jeff Evans will present brief snapshots of Beaufort’s history ranging from the city’s humble beginnings in 1711 to its economic growth and wars during the last 300 years.
Beaufort was named after Englishman Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (1684-1714), one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. It was on January 17, 1711, that the English founded Beaufort’s formal charter.
The closing Tricentennial ceremony and the explosion of fireworks over the Beaufort River will take place after sunset around 6 p.m. “We want this to be a family affair and we’ll end early enough so people can go out to dinner or get home for New Year’s Eve festivities,” said Mayor Billy Keyserling.
In the event of rain on December 31, the event will be moved to The Arts Center at Beaufort High located on Lady’s Island.