By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer
Bob Bible, commodore for the 56th Annual Beaufort Water Festival, is all smiles. He’s worked diligently with his crew for the last year planning Beaufort’s coveted festival and is now in go-mode. He’s on the tarmac, waiting for the last ride on a long journey.
Bible, director of property management for Atlantic Marine Corps Communities at Tri-Command, lives in Beaufort and is married to Colleen Bible. Originally from Winter Park, Fla., Bible has spent the last 20 years in Beaufort, propelling himself into numerous volunteer opportunities. In addition to being commodore, Bible is also past president and current Youth Exchange Officer for Rotary Club of the Lowcountry and on the Rotary District 7770 Youth Exchange District Committee. He’s also the ghost of Mr. John Mark Verdier for the annual CAPA Ghost Tours in October.
While Bible isn’t volunteering for Rotary of the Lowcountry, CAPA or the Beaufort Water Festival, he enjoys fishing, golfing, gardening and NASCAR. He has three children: Aaron (36); Chris (32); and Allison (25) and two grandchildren, Alex (7) and Skylar (10).
Bible graciously invited me and Pamela Brownstein, The Island News’ graphic designer, to a recent Water Festival meeting. The mood was relaxed, and the vibe was contagious. The crew is ready, and frankly, so is Beaufort.
I asked Bible a few questions about his role as commodore:
WP: What does Water Festival mean to you?
BB: A sincere commitment to service above self. It gives me great pleasure to see the smiles on the childrens’ faces during our toad fishing tournament, ski show, air show and especially children’s day. Also the excitement that the community displays as the Water Festival approaches those magical 10 days in July.
WP: What does the Water Festival do for the city of Beaufort?
BB: The Water Festival provides a venue to highlight our beautiful city. Many people plan their vacations around our 10-day event.
WP: What is you favorite event during Water Festival?
BB: I have to say the Children’s Toad Fishing Tournament. My granddaughter Alex is the little girl in the T-shirt design for this year, and it came from a picture I keep on my desk of her fishing in her first Toad Fishing Tournament. The young fishermen/fisher ladies get such personal enjoyment during that one event.
WP: What was the hardest part of planning Water Festival this year?
BB: Waiting for it to begin! We start planning in September the year before and we go over and over all scenarios, all the little pieces and parts that make it a great event.
WP: What has been your favorite moment so far?
BB: That actually happened on Saturday, July 9. I was meeting in Cannon Park with one of my coordinators and a chairman for our pre-parade coffee and a young couple came to the park. I noticed the young man gave the young lady a great big hug and then came over to us and asked if one of us could take a picture. I volunteered and asked them about the special occasion. He had just proposed. It was such a touching moment. I went to my truck and gave them both a Commodore’s Guest pass and asked them to be my guests at this year’s Water Festival. It truly made my day.
WP: What has been the most frustrating moment so far?
BB: The Women’s Golf Tournament. I wanted to make this year bigger and better. The number of participants has dropped over the years, and this was one of my goals to get it going again. Unfortunately, I agreed to move it South of the Broad, based on some professionals’ input, and several things happened. The golf course that we were going to use was not ready for the event (grounds-wise), and then I agreed to reschedule the event to give it another try. Again, not much participation. I hope next year’s commodore can make this a better event. If any of your women golfers have any ideas to help, please send them to www.infowaterfestival.com.
WP: What positive energy have you brought to this year’s festival?
BB: That is a tough question. I want to say a sense of team work and the ability to let my coordinators do their job without micromanaging.
WP: How is your crew?
BB: Every year our coordinators take on a new role for the festival, and this year, they have been awesome in the roles I assigned them in September.
WP: How often does the committee meet?
BB: We start out with one meeting a month in September, and when January roles around, it is twice to three times a month. Plus we have several events that take place outside of the 10 days we are in the park. We have a fishing tournament, golf tournament and softball event. We have Sports Saturday, which includes horseshoes, volleyball and a men’s softball tournament. This year we also had a green event, where we provided kayaks and the opportunity to do something good for the environment and our beautiful Beaufort River by cleaning debris and trash from the shoreline.
WP: Do you guys like to have a good time?
BB: Of course! My motto is: Don’t let them see you sweat. Our goal is to ensure a quality event that people enjoy and, at the end of the day, everyone goes home safe: our festival participants and my crew.
WP: Will you be at the park every day?
BB: Yes, I will be in the park every day, but not always in those familiar red short/pants. I will be just another one of the 400 plus volunteers who make the Beaufort Water Festival a great event.
WP: If you were a kid again, what would be the most entertaining thing to see at Water Festival?
BB: Magic Mark on Children’s Day. He has been invited back for several years, because I believe he truly cares about the children. He makes sure they have a great time.
WP: What are your plans after Water Festival?
BB: A NAP! Just kiddin’, I would like to get more involved again with CAPA.
WP: How many T-shirts does the commodore get?
BB: I get one the night we pick the colors. That is a unique event, because they all look so good, but we can only choose about 10 each year. The rest I buy, and since this year it is my design, I bought a lot. The T-shirt design this year came to life through my idea and two talented people, Mrs. Tempel who painted a picture I purchased in 2003 and Mr. Brad Drawdy from Big D’s Tees who took it to the next level.
WP: Do you get in free for all Water Festival’s to come?
BB: Yes. Also, I will still be working on the Water Festival Board for the next four years.
WP: Would you want to do this again?
BB: I think once is enough for now, but if called upon to help in future festivals absolutely. It is a great way to give back to our community.
WP: What is one feature of the Water Festival not many people know about that you’d like to promote?
BB: We provide an opportunity for many nonprofit organizations to participate and earn funds for their community projects. We also provide a scholarship to a student in Beaufort County and this year we signed on with Mayor Keyserling’s idea to provide a $1,000 a year for the next four years with the USCB arts program.
WP: In three words, can you sum up Water Festival?
BB: No! There is just too much that each year’s Water Festival brings to our community.