By Pamela Brownstein
What happens when you pack hundreds of hungry Beaufortonians into Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park and provide homecooked Lowcountry Boil for all? You get one heck of a deliciously fun night, one that families and foodies look forward to during the seventh night of Water Festival.
Festivalgoers were ready for the gates to open at 6 p.m., and the lines started at the entrance by the Downtown Marina and wrapped all the way to Plums along Bay Street.
Once through the gates, the buffet began and volunteers from the Rotary Club of the Lowcountry and the Water Festival served up the essential components that make up Lowcountry Boil: sausage, corn on the cob, coleslaw, and of course local steamed shrimp. Organizers had to scramble to find a way to cook the 1,000 pounds of shrimp because there was a problem in the kitchen at their traditional location of Naval Hospital Beaufort. But with the help of volunteers and the community, they found a way at the last minute, and to the unsuspecting diners, the shrimp was as savory and plentiful as it is every year.
The Pirettes served rolls and also assisted families who had their hands full with kids and plates of food. A first-year Pirette came to the rescue of me and my husband and our stroller-riding toddler as she carried our cups of sweet tea all the way to our seats: It was a big help!
The Lunch Bunch thought that the amount of sausage we received was more than last year, and we welcomed the upgrade. The half corn cobs were perfectly cooked, and while the shrimp was just as good as ever, the consistency of the cocktail sauce was a little weird. But the giant slices of juicy watermelon seem to symbolize summer and make for the ideal way to top off the meal.
Congrats to Stacey Canaday and her crew for once again pulling off this giant undertaking of feeding the masses.
Of course, a huge meal in Waterfront Park would not be complete without the accompaniment of live music. This year, the crowd was rocking to the upbeat tunes of the opening local band The Blue Dots, followed by the always entertaining Whistlers, an annual Water Festival tradition.
Later in the night, the Eagles tribute band On the Border from Charlotte, N.C., performed.