Main Street Beaufort, USA and the South Carolina Shrimpers Association are gearing up for the 19th Annual Beaufort Shrimp Festival to be held Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5 at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. This two-day festival is a celebration of SC Wild Caught Shrimp, local food and fun in the Lowcountry.
The party in the park kicks off Friday, October 4 at 6 p.m. Be prepared to dance your shrimp tails off and come with an empty stomach. Deas-Guyz — who play a mix of Old Motown, rhythm and blues, pop, rock, reggae and dance beats — will be performing live. Local restaurants will be previewing their shrimp dishes for Saturday’s competitions. All restaurants will be using South Carolina Wild Caught Shrimp. The arts and craft market opens at noon.
The next morning, Saturday, Oct. 5, the festival’s popular 5K Bridge Run/Walk (USATF certified course) starts at 8 a.m. The Popcorn Shrimp Run for ages 7 and under will begin at 8:45 a.m. at the corner of Bay and Newcastle streets. All require advanced registration.
Saturday’s events continue at 11 a.m. with live music, children activities, abundance of S.C. fresh, wild caught shrimp, arts and craft market and featuring the East Coast Party Band — one of the most popular dance bands in the Southeast.
Local restaurants will put their unique spins on fresh local shrimp, available to attendees, and will compete for the Best Shrimp Dish and Best Booth Decoration voted by a panel of judges, and the People’s Choice, chosen by festival attendees. The overall winner will be awarded the prestigious Silver Cup. Alternative foods will be available for the shell-fish intolerant. Also adults will be able to participate in a shrimp heading competition and children in a shrimp peeling competition for various prizes.
The Sea Island Rotary Club will host its 5th annual Charity Shrimp Race, where 5,000 rubber floating shrimp will be dropped in the Beaufort River adjacent to Waterfront Park from a working shrimp boat. The shrimp will float naturally with the tide towards a finish line. The first 10 shrimp to cross the finish line share $5,000 in cash prizes and have a chance to win the $1 million grand prize.
“The principal goal of this event is to raise money for our local charities,” says Mike Mashke, club president. “Our signature charities include: CAPA (Child Abuse Prevention Association), Hope Haven and various Rotary service projects. The Charity Shrimp Race is the world’s largest Shrimp Race and the primary annual fundraiser for the Sea Island Rotary Club. For the past several years we have been able to donate more than $50,000 annually toward charity,” says Mashke. “This is a wonderful way to help charity and maybe win something in return.”
A new addition this year is the debut of Jumbo the Shrimp, the zany mascot of the Charity Shrimp Race. For more information or to adopt your shrimp, visit www.rotaryshrimprace.com.
For more information or to register for the 5K Bridge Run/Walk visit www.beaufortshrimpfestival.com or call (843) 525-6644.
The Beaufort Shrimp Festival is produced by Main Street Beaufort, USA and the South Carolina Shrimpers Association and presented by Hilton Head Nissan at New River Auto Mall and other fine sponsors.