Time To Celebrate

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63rd annual Beaufort Water Festival kicks off Friday

By Justin Jarrett

The best 10 days of the year are almost upon us.

It’s time for the 63rd annual Beaufort Water Festival to return to Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, which will be the place to see and be seen from Friday, July 13, to Sunday, July 22.

The festival has grown leaps and bounds since the inaugural event in 1956 — not only in terms of its popularity, but also in the number of events offered. Back then, a $5 bill would get a couple into all the major events of festival week, which were limited to the beauty pageant, the Water Festival Ball (now known as the Commodore’s Ball), and the Regatta Ball. 

This year’s festival will include upwards of 25 events, including numerous concerts, fan favorites such as the Opening Ceremonies, Motown Monday, Teen Dance, Talent Show, Blessing of the Fleet, and tons of fun contests such as the Raft Race, bocce and badminton tournaments, the children’s toad fishing tournament, and the always entertaining Bed Race. 

This year marks a first for the festival, though — it’s the first time a husband and wife both will have served as Commodore. Beaufort native and attorney Stacey Canaday will serve as this year’s Commodore, following husband, Chris, who held the position in 2016. 

Canaday was a Pirette — one of the team of young women who serve as the festival’s goodwill ambassadors by participating in regional parades and events throughout the year and assist patrons during the Water Festival — during the early-1990s and has been a volunteer for the festival for the past 15 years. 

So Canaday knows her way around the Water Festival, but if you’re a first-timer, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:

PARKING

Parking is limited downtown on an ordinary basis, but the competition for a space is especially fierce during the Water Festival. Be prepared to pay for parking, whether it’s at a metered space or in a paid lot downtown. Allow extra time to park and walk, or plan on parking at the Beaufort County Government Center and using the free shuttle for select evening events. 

IT’S HOT!

It’s not exactly breaking news that it gets hot in the Lowcountry in July, but seriously, Water Festival seems to come during one of the hottest weeks of the year, every year. Be sure to slap on some sunscreen before you head out and take in plenty of fluids (other than beer and wine) to avoid dehydration.  

EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY

There’s no shortage of food and beverage available at Water Festival, and you can indulge as much as you like while knowing you’re helping support charities such as high school booster clubs. If you’re going to enjoy some adult beverages, though, be sure to drink responsibly and keep the atmosphere family-friendly, and whatever you do, don’t drink and drive. 

Photo at top by Bob Sofaly.

2018 BEAUFORT WATER FESTIVAL
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Friday, July 13

Festival Arts & Crafts Market 

Location: Promenade at Waterfront Park

Event Details: Noon – 7pm

OPENING CEREMONY

Sponsored by The Preserve at Port Royal

Entertainment: The Parris Island Marine Band & Fireworks at Dusk

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT​ | Gates open at 6pm, Ceremony at 7pm | FREE Shuttle Service from the Beaufort County Government Center

Saturday, July 14

Raft Race

Sponsored by CPM Federal Credit Union

Location: Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: 8:30am – Noon

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the 

Waterfront Park

Event Details: 9am – 7pm

Bocce Tournament

Sponsored by JoCo Construction 

and Sea Island Elevators

Location: Waterfront Park Main Field

Event Details: Play starts at 9am

Badminton Tournament

Sponsored by A.C. Harvey’s Screenprinting

Location: Waterfront Park Stage Field

Event Details: Play starts at 9am

Children’s Toad Fishing Tournament

Sponsored by Plair Enterprises, Inc

Location: Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 10am – Noon | Ages 12 and under only Bring your own rod, reel and tackle | Bait provided

Sponsor’s Expo

Location: Waterfront Park Pavilion

Event Details: FREE EVENT

10am – 2pm

Shrimp Boat Tours

Sponsored by Sea Eagle Market

Location: Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: FREE EVENT| 

Noon – 4pm

Ski Show

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 1:30pm

CONCERT IN THE PARK

Sponsored by New Country Bob 106.9

Headline Performer GRANGER SMITH featuring Earl Dibbles Jr. with 

SPECIAL GUESTS

country entertainer JOHN KING and new rising country act WALKER COUNTY 

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $30 | Gates open at 6pm, Show at 7pm | No strollers, coolers, outside food or beverages or professional photography | No Refunds | FREE Shuttle service from Beaufort County Government Center | Children age 5 and under FREE 

Sunday, July 15

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the 

Waterfront Park

Event Details: 9am – 5pm

River Rally

Sponsored by Butler Marine

Location: Local Waters

Event Details: 9am – 1pm

Children’s Day

Sponsored by Coastal Orthodontics

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 11am – 3pm | Featuring Games, Activities, Shows, Bounce Houses and Prizes

Shrimp Boat Tours

Sponsored by Sea Eagle Market

Location: Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: FREE EVENT  

Noon – 4pm

TEEN DANCE

Sponsored by JOHN 3:16

Entertainment: DJ Donna

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $10 | 6pm – 9pm | Gates open 6pm – 9pm, No entry after 8pm (NO RE-ENTRY ALLOWED)  Ages 13 – 17 only, ID Required | Clutch Purses Only (6” x 9” size) | Please Wear Appropriate Clothing | No refunds, outside food or beverages, or coolers

Monday, July 16

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the 

Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm

MOTOWN MONDAY

Sponsored by South State Bank

Entertainment: Deaz-Guyz

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $15 | Gates open 7pm, Show at 8pm | No refunds, outside food or beverages, or coolers | FREE Shuttle Service from the Beaufort County Government Center | Children age 5 and under FREE

Tuesday, July 17

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the 

Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm

HOMETOWN TUESDAY

Sponsored by Beaufort Regional 

Chamber of Commerce

Headline Entertainment: 

Steel Rail Express

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | Gates open 7pm, Show at 8pm | No outside food or beverages, or coolers

Wednesday, July 18

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the 

Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm

TALENT SHOW

Sponsored by Landon’s LP

Hosted by: The Preceptor Omega 

Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $10 or FREE with Official 2018 63rd Annual Water Festival T-Shirt Gates open at 6pm, Show at 7pm | No refunds, outside food or beverages, or coolers | Children age 5 and under FREE

Thursday, July 19

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the 

Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm

LOWCOUNTRY SUPPER

Sponsored by Waste Pro

Headline Entertainment: 20 Ride

Opening Entertainment: Andrew Beam

Featuring: The Whistlers

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $15 | Gates open at 6pm Supper served 6pm – 7:30pm | No refunds, outside food or beverages, or coolers | Children age 5 and under FREE

Friday, July 20

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm

Bed Race

Sponsored by Starr Distribution

Location: Corner of Bay & Harrington

Event Details: $25 entry per team | 4:30pm check-in | 5pm start time | Same day registration based on space availability

RIVER DANCE

Sponsored by City Electric Supply

Entertainment: Groove Town Assault

Opening Entertainment: Souls Harbor

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $15 | Gates open at 7pm, Show at 8pm | Must be 18 or Older with Valid ID to attend | No refunds, outside food or beverages, coolers or strollers |  FREE Shuttle service from Beaufort County Government Center

Saturday, July 21

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 9am – 7pm

Water Festival Grand Parade

Organized by: The Beaufort Lions Club

Location: Downtown Beaufort

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 10am – Noon

Non-Profit Expo

Location: Waterfront Park Pavilion

Event Details: FREE EVENT | Noon – 4pm

​Air Show

Sponsored by Executive Flight Training

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 1pm – 4pm  Stunt Planes | US Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demo

COMMODORE’S BALL

Sponsored by Mike’s Marine

Entertainment: Emerald Empire Band

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $10 | Gates open at 7pm, Show at 8pm | No refunds, outside food or beverages or coolers | Children age 5 and under FREE

Sunday, July 22

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the 

Waterfront Park

Event Details: 9am – 3pm

Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats

Sponsored by The Past Commodores 

of the Beaufort Water Festival

Location: Beaufort River in front of 

Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: Noon – 2pm | FREE registration | Boats must register to be eligible for prizes | All applications must be at the judge’s table prior to Noon

Festival Ends – 3:00 pm

See you next year!