By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
The sweet scent of suntan lotion, fried chicken and diesel fuel linger as we approach the ever climatic second weekend of Water Festival. We are proud of our tans, our resilience and our ability to stay out of the 10 p.m. news. We have made new friends, new memories and new home remedies for long nights that turned into longer mornings. The first week was a success so we forge confidently into infamous weekend two.
The tide drops low and gives way to a notorious Beaufort tradition. Come Saturday morning the faithful will stake their claim, toss their anchor and set up for a day of boat hopping, cooler swapping and belly flopping fun. The Beaufort Sandbar comes alive with music, laughter, folly and faux pas. People watching at its best will offer fodder for many months ahead. There will be adventure, suspense and drama that can easily rival the most celebrated theatrical performance. It is a time honored tradition that takes no prisoners, unless DNR catches you, and then prisoners most certainly will be taken.
Even if just for one day this small island of utter dysfunction will clamor with the sounds of summer. Hundreds of teenagers, twenty-something, thirty something and up will flock to the sandy soiree from all backgrounds. It is a day of delightful debauchery, comedic chaos and a reminder of why our beloved Water Festival comes but once a year. Cares fade into the sweet summer haze of things better left off social media. Boats become dance floors, sections of sand serve as BBQ cafes and gym memberships pay off as bikinis and board shorts walk the red carpet of summer.
It is an experience best experienced by those that have experience. Veterans caution newcomers to pace themselves as locals try to explain the enigmatic tradition to tourists. It takes skill, panache and a ninja like speed to avoid incriminating photos. It builds character, it builds friendships and it builds police reports with ease. It is the beautiful Beaufort Sandbar, beholder of all things Beaufort, all things summer and all things we lose each year. May the tide run low, the laughter run high and the newspaper not run your name.