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Water fest makes a big splash

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Photo above: The performers with the Gatorland Ski Show make their way to the sea wall July 15 at the Beaufort Water Festival. Photos by Bob Sofaly.

CORRECTION

In the July 13 edition a story stated that a concert on Thursday, July 20, featuring “American Idol” winner Candice Glover was free. The event will require tickets. They are $15 and can be purchased at www.bftwaterfestival.com or with cash only at the door.

Staff reports

The Beaufort Water Festival got off to a terrific start with moving opening ceremonies with the Parris Island Marine Band and fireworks (check out facebook.com/theislandnews for video), the always popular raft races and much more.

On July 16, thousands of eager children and their parents — and sometimes grandparents — converged on Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park for Children’s Day.

On hand were bouncy houses, football kicking games, ball tosses and miniature golf. All were free and geared for young children.

Here’s the lineup for the rest of the festival. The * indicates events where a free shuttle service will be offered from the Beaufort County Government Center at 100 Ribaut Road in Beaufort.

Thursday, July 20

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Lowcountry Supper
Sponsored by WastePro USA
Headline Entertainment: Broke Locals
Opening Entertainment: Eric Daubert
Special Guest Performance: Candice Glover
Featuring: The Whistlers
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: $15, children under 5 free; gates open at 6 p.m.; supper served 6-7:30 p.m.; no refunds; no outside food, beverages or coolers

Friday, July 21

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Bed Race
Sponsored by Lohr Plumbing
Location: Corner of Bay & Harrington
Event Details: $25 entry per team; 4:30 p.m. check-in, 5 p.m. start time; same day registration based on space availability

* River Dance
Sponsored by City Electric Supply
Entertainment: The Band Punch
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: $15; gates open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.; must be 18 or older with valid ID; no refunds; no outside food, beverages, coolers or strollers 

Saturday, July 22

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Water Festival Grand Parade
Sponsored by Moss, Kuhn & Fleming
Organized by: The Beaufort Lions Club
Location: Downtown Beaufort
Event Details: Free; 10 a.m.-noon

Non-Profit Expo
Location: Waterfront Park Pavilion
Event Details: Free; noon-4 p.m.

Air Show
Sponsored by Executive Flight Training
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: Free; 1-4 p.m.; stunt planes, U.S. Coast Guard Search & Rescue demo

Commodore’s Ball
Sponsored by Mike’s Marine Repair
Entertainment: The New Royals
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: $10, children under 5 free; gates open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.; no refunds; no outside food, beverages or coolers

Sunday, July 23

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats
Sponsored by The Past Commodores of the Beaufort Water Festival
Location: Waterfront Park Seawall
Event Details: Free; noon-2 p.m.; boats must register to be eligible for prizes; all applications must be at the judge’s table prior to noon

Festival ends: 3 p.m.

Greg Maniocourt launches his bocce ball during a close match July 15 during the annual Bocce Ball Tournament at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Maniocourt and teammate Nick Hunt won the tournament. It was their sixth victory in the Water Festival Bocce Ball Tournament.
Greg Maniocourt launches his bocce ball during a close match July 15 during the annual Bocce Ball Tournament at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Maniocourt and teammate Nick Hunt won the tournament. It was their sixth victory in the Water Festival Bocce Ball Tournament.
Ranger Megan Stegmeir, left, of Hunting Island State Park, holds a 3-year-old American alligator for children to touch on Children's Day at the Beaufort Water Festival. Stegmeir said the gator is small because captivity seems to stunt their growth. The child in the background was reluctant to even get close to it.
Ranger Megan Stegmeir, left, of Hunting Island State Park, holds a 3-year-old American alligator for children to touch on Children’s Day at the Beaufort Water Festival. Stegmeir said the gator is small because captivity seems to stunt their growth. The child in the background was reluctant to even get close to it.
Kason Jenkins, 6, catches “a big stingray” from the sea wall during the Water Festival Children’s Toad Fish Tournament on July 15.
Kason Jenkins, 6, catches “a big stingray” from the sea wall during the Water Festival Children’s Toad Fish Tournament on July 15.
Beaufort Water Festival volunteers Taylor Jernigan, left, and Asia Cole, right, direct traffic at the Downtown Marina.
Beaufort Water Festival volunteers Taylor Jernigan, left, and Asia Cole, right, direct traffic at the Downtown Marina.
Master Sgt. Daniel Sullivan of the Parris Island Marine Band perform at the 62nd Beaufort Water Festival’s opening night.
Master Sgt. Daniel Sullivan of the Parris Island Marine Band perform at the 62nd Beaufort Water Festival’s opening night.
The annual Raft Races in the Beaufort River near the sea wall of Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park is always a crowd favorite. Here team Goin’ Postal, top, starts to move out as team Complete Car Care of Beaufort digs in as well. Goin’ Postal won the heat. Photos by Bob Sofaly.
The annual Raft Races in the Beaufort River near the sea wall of Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park is always a crowd favorite. Here team Goin’ Postal, top, starts to move out as team Complete Car Care of Beaufort digs in as well. Goin’ Postal won the heat. Photos by Bob Sofaly.
The Marine Corps Color Guard officially opens the 62nd annual 2017 Beaufort Water Festival on July 14 at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
The Marine Corps Color Guard officially opens the 62nd annual 2017 Beaufort Water Festival on July 14 at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

Reconstruction monument planning underway

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Staff reports

The National Park Service (NPS) will hold three public forums in Northern Beaufort County to begin establishing a framework for managing the new Reconstruction Era National Monument.

These open houses are part of a comprehensive planning process that will also include targeted stakeholder meetings, and research and analysis that contribute to the development of an NPS foundation document.  

A foundation document identifies a national park unit’s core purpose and significance, its most important resources and values and the interpretive themes that tell its unique and significant American story.  

“The foundation document will be critical to helping the National Park Service map out management plans and priorities for the new park,” said Reconstruction Era National Monument Superintendent Melissa English-Rias. “We are inviting the public to play a role in shaping the park’s future operations.”

Reconstruction Era National Monument’s foundation document will inform future park management decisions by outlining what is most important about the park and documenting what is needed to protect and preserve those assets.  

Interested citizens can participate by sharing their thoughts on what is most important about the Reconstruction Era National Monument, potential issues that could threaten future preservation and commemoration of the site, and what opportunities exist to improve the protection of and provide access to this national treasure. The project team will consider public input while developing the plan.  

During the open house sessions, attendees will have an opportunity to hear formal presentations about the foundation document process, review material about the process, ask questions and share ideas directly with NPS staff.  

Public commenting is also available through Friday, Aug. 18, at parkplanning.nps.gov/REERhttp://parkplanning.nps.gov/bicr; by email at reer_information@nps.gov; by phone at 404-227-1507; and by mail to Reconstruction Era National Monument, P.O. Box 1719, Beaufort, SC 29901

Open Houses

Open house sessions on planning for the new Reconstruction Era National Monument will be held as follows:

• 7-9 p.m. Monday, July 24, Penn Center, Frissell Community House, 16 Penn Center Circle West, St. Helena Island

• 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, Port Royal Town Hall, 700 Paris Ave., Port Royal

• 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27, Tabernacle Baptist Church, 907 Craven St.

Lowcountry Life

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The St. Helena Prayer Chapel along Sea Island Parkway has been called “The littlest church in the Lowcountry.” The sign out front asks motorists to simply “pray as you pass.” 

“The spot certainly shows off the character of the island and lets you see that the church and faith in daily life plays a vital role in the building and shaping of St. Helena,” said Ron Callari, who shot this photo.

To submit a Lowcountry Life photo, you must be the photographer or have permission to submit the photo to be published in The Island News. Please submit high resolution photos and include a description and/or names of the people in the picture and the name of the photographer. Email your photos to theislandnews@gmail.com. 

Center for the Arts presents exciting season of shows

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norma

Photo above: A set model for David McVicar’s new production of “Norma,” which will be streamed live from the Metropolitan Opera at the USCB Center for the Arts on Saturday, Oct. 7. Photo by the Metropolitan Opera Technical Department.

Staff reports

The University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts has announced its 2017-2018 season of shows.  

“Wow, this season the Center for the Arts is going to be the place to be to see incredible shows every month, sometime twice a month,” stated Bonnie Hargrove, CFA director.   

On Sept. 29, Mainstage shows begins with the “Classic Nashville Road Show,” “here to remind us of a time when June fell for Johnny and Loretta was just a coal miner’s daughter,” according to a release. “Let Classic Nashville Roadshow take you on a journey down memory lane with your favorite classic hits honoring the world’s most beloved country greats!”

The Beaufort Theatre Company will present “Conrack,” a musical based on Pat Conroy’s novel “The Water is Wide” on Oct. 13, 15, 21 and 22. 

The Pat Conroy Literary Festival will return for the second year from Oct. 19-22, with over 40 award winning authors providing film discussions, lectures, workshops and book- signings. 

Showcasing one of the greatest voices of our time, Linda Eder will perform a one-night only concert on Oct. 28.  

Eder’s repertoire spans Broadway, standards, pop, country and jazz. “When she performs live in concert, it is amazing to experience the ease with which she moves back and forth from one genre to another as if she were gifted with the vocal ability to perform each genre as well as all the other,” the release states.

“Comedy has always been popular with CFA audiences, so ‘The Wonderbread Years’ show on Friday, Nov. 10, should be a sell out,” the release states. 

“A fresh and funny salute to Americana, ‘The Wonder Bread Years,’ starring Pat Hazell (former Seinfeld Show writer) is a fast-paced, hilarious production that gracefully walks the line between standup and theater. Audiences across the country enjoy a show that not only restores a much-needed sense of wonder, but leaves audiences laughing and savoring the past like never before.”

The Beaufort Children’s Theatre’s 16th production on Nov. 17-19 will teach that “beauty is in the eye of the ogre,” with “Shrek The Musical JR.,” based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film and Broadway musical.  

Back by popular demand, the Center for the Arts will showcase The Three Redneck Tenors with their popular “Christmas Spec tac-YULE-ar” on Dec. 9 and 10. 

“It’s Christmas music like you’ve never heard and won’t easily forget. I guarantee ya! These real life Broadway and opera stars are ready to rock your holidays with classic, pop and deep-fried fest of musical delights,” the release states.

The Affair with the Arts, the CFA’s annual signature fundraiser, will be held on Jan. 20. Flirt with “Lady Luck” at the Vegas-style casino complete with dancing, music, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.  

On Friday, Jan. 26, “Let’s Hang On,” a tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons will kick off the 2018 performing arts season. 

Following is the rest of the lineup:

• Cirque Zuma Zuma is bringing Africa to the Lowcountry on Friday, Feb. 9.  This Cirque-style show is filled with non-stop action, music, acrobatics and amazing feats.

• Motown and More, on Feb. 17-18, will bring together some of the region’s best musicians, including Marlena Smalls, Velma Polk, Elaine Lake and the Lowcounty Jazz Band for a show that will pay tribute to Motown artists from Aretha Franklin, Dianna Ross, Gladys Night and the Pips and more. 

• The son of legendary singer-songwriter Jim Croce, A.J., will perform on March 3 his show “Two Generations of America Music”. Croce features a complete set of classics by his father.

• A cappella music continues as part of the CFA season with Semi-Toned from Exeter University in the Southwest of England on Thursday, April 12. Semi-toned is 14 men strong and in April 2015 earned the title of national champions, having won the Voice Festival UK. 

• The Beaufort Theatre Company’s production of the Broadway hit “The Producers” will be presented on April 28-29 and May 4-5.

• Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka JR.” will be the Beaufort Children’s Theatre spring production and will be presented May 18-20.   

• The Met Opera Live in HD series will begin with Bellini’s “Norma” on Saturday, Oct. 7. There will be several other operas offered through April. Season tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, July 19. Full season tickets are $180; five operas for $80. Individual tickets are $20 and $18 for OLLI members. 

The USCB Center for the Arts relies on donors, sponsors and ticket sales to provide these programs. For information on becoming a donor, call 843-521-4145 or go online to uscbcenterforthearts.com

“The Whole She-Bang”  package includes all nine mainstage productions, two Beaufort Theatre Company productions, two Beaufort Children Theatre productions, all-access movie pass to the independent film series, Met Opera in HD pass for all 10 Met Opera Live in HD productions and 25 percent off all tickets prices.

The “Everything BUT the Kitchen Sink” package includes all nine mainstage productions, two Beaufort Theatre Productions and two Beaufort Children’s Theatre Productions, 25 percent off ticket price.

The “Decisions, Decisions” package includes your choice of six events from mainstage productions and Beaufort Theatre productions with 25 percent off.

For tickets and more information, visit www.uscbcenterforthearts.com.

Back by popular demand, the Center for the Arts will showcase The Three Redneck Tenors with their popular “Christmas Spec tac-YULE-ar” on Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10. Photo provided.
Back by popular demand, the Center for the Arts will showcase The Three Redneck Tenors with their popular “Christmas Spec tac-YULE-ar” on Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10. Photo provided.

Superhero visits Beaufort

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Photo above: Steven Terry, 5, strikes a pose with Marvel Comics’ Spiderman while Emily Terry takes their picture at Flashback Gear. Photos by Bob Sofaly.

By Bob Sofaly

After the opening of the newest Marvel Comics’ Spiderman movie on July 8, Spiderman paid a visit to Flashback Gear, where scores of children had their pictures taken with him and feasted on blue and red cupcakes topped with chocolate spider webs.

Chris Mullen, owner of Flashback Gear on Scott Street, said he wanted to create some excitement regarding the new Spiderman movie and maybe generate more retail business at the same time at the free event.

“It’s a character I always loved as a kid. I’ve been pretty giddy all week,” he said as the children lit up when they saw the super hero strike a pose.

With the help of one of his more athletic and limber employees, Adam Acher (Spiderman) dazzled the children with fluid moves and poses.

“We’re kind of throwing a little party,” Mullen said of his event. “The cupcakes from Cuppity Cakes were perfect. We wanted to throw a cute little event that the kids could come to on a Saturday morning and have a good time.”

Marvel Comics’ Spiderman strikes a pose for the cameras on July 8 at Flashback Gear on Scott Street.
Marvel Comics’ Spiderman strikes a pose for the cameras on July 8 at Flashback Gear on Scott Street.

BAA installs new officers

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BAA MeetingMembers of the Beaufort Art Association installed new officers at their installation luncheon at the Golden Corral on June 14. Pictured from left are: Larry Kay, board member; Vicki Dobrinsky, satellite chair; Kim Painter, gallery chair; Joyce Ryzner, vice president; Ron Ledlow, president; Marilee Sartori, recording secretary; Lynne Morgan, membership chair; John Kenney, treasurer; Phyllis Seas, corresponding secretary; and Dee Ledlow and Renee Levin, board members. Chartered in 1957, the Beaufort Art Association is a tax-exempt membership organization. Currently, about 175 local artists belong, with about 65 of them exhibiting their work in the gallery. Visit www.beaufortartassociation.com or call 843-521-4444. Photo provided.

The best time of the year is here!

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Photo above: The Beaufort Water Festival’s opening ceremony is free to the public and always crowded as festival-goers pack Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park to hear the Parris Island Marine Band. Photos by Bob Sofaly.

What you need to know for the 2017 Beaufort Water Festival

Yay! It’s time once again for the hugely popular Beaufort Water Festival at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, which will be held daily from Friday, July 14, to Sunday, July 23.

The 62nd annual outdoor event is sure to be a hit, with the regular events back for another year of fun and entertainment, including the always moving opening ceremonies, Motown Monday, the Teen Dance, the Talent Show and the Blessing of the Fleet.

There will also, of course, be plenty of entertainment, arts and crafts, events for children and lots of outdoor sports (bocce, badminton, rafting and more).

New this year is a special concert on Thursday featuring hometown girl Candice Glover, season 12 winner of “American Idol.”

So, what have we learned over the years?

First, parking. The early bird gets the best parking spot, so go early if possible. Several churches, banks and other businesses allow parking in their lots for a fee (the closer to the park, the higher the fee). New this year is a free shuttle service from the Beaufort County Government Center for some of the evening events.

Also, remember to bring sunscreen and drink plenty of water. There are few places to get out of the sun and dehydration can quickly become an issue. EMS paramedics will be more than happy to assist if you need help.

As most festival-goers know, the Beaufort Water Festival has a storied history.

The first festival was held in July 1956, with John Bigbee serving as the first president and Gladys Thompson in charge of the visiting queens. The Lions Club put on the first parade and has been doing so every year since.

“In the early days of the festival, it cost 50 cents to attend the Beauty Pageant, one dollar per couple to attend the Water Festival Ball (which was later changed to the Commodore’s Ball) and two dollars to attend the Regatta Ball,” according to beaufortwaterfestival.com.

“The first weekend featured two days of sailboat races and the Regatta Ball. The following weekend began with the Beauty Pageant on Friday where the Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands was crowned. The parade and ski show, put on by the Beaufort Water Ski Club, and an air show highlighted the second weekend, in addition to the Water Festival Ball. 

“As the years went by, the festival began to draw more and more people to Beaufort from other parts of the state and on a national level. ”

And it certainly has something for everyone. So rain or shine, we’ll see you there!

Marge Barber, left, squirts butter on her corn while volunteer Joe Lee, right, help her husband John during the annual Lowcountry Supper at Waterfront Park at the 2016 festival.
Marge Barber, left, squirts butter on her corn while volunteer Joe Lee, right, help her husband John during the annual Lowcountry Supper at Waterfront Park at the 2016 festival.
The raft racing team from Decibel Church cheer after a victorious run of 35.52 seconds near the sea wall of Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park at the 2016 Beaufort Water Festival.
The raft racing team from Decibel Church cheer after a victorious run of 35.52 seconds near the sea wall of Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park at the 2016 Beaufort Water Festival.

Beaufort Water Festival 2017 Schedule of Events

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* Events where a free shuttle service will be offered from the Beaufort County Government Center at 100 Ribaut Road in Beaufort.

Friday, July 14

Festival Arts & Crafts Market 
Location: Promenade at Waterfront Park
Event Details: Noon-7 p.m.

Opening Ceremony
Sponsored by The Preserve at Port Royal
Entertainment: The Parris Island Marine Band & Fireworks at Dusk
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: Free; gates open at 6 p.m., ceremony at 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 15

Raft Race
Sponsored by CPM Federal Credit Union
Location: Waterfront Park Seawall
Event Details: 8:30 a.m.-noon

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Bocce Tournament
Sponsored by JoCo Construction/Sea Island Elevators
Location: Waterfront Park Main Field
Event Details: Play starts at 9 a.m.

Badminton Tournament
Sponsored by A.C. Harvey’s Screen Printing
Location: Waterfront Park Stage Field
Event Details: Play starts at 9 a.m.

Children’s Toad Fishing Tournament
Sponsored by Plair Enterprises Inc.
Location: Waterfront Park Seawall
Event Details: Free; 10 a.m.-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; 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Shrimp Boat Tours
Sponsored by Sea Eagle Market
Location: Waterfront Park Seawall
Event Details: Free; noon-4 p.m.

Ski Show
Sponsored by Sports Clips
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: Free; 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

* Concert in the Park
Sponsored by New Country Bob 106.9
Headline Entertainment: Aaron Lewis
Opening Entertainment: Jordan Rager
Also Appearing: Steel Rail Express
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: $30, children under 5 free; gates open at 7 p.m.; show at 7:15 p.m.; no strollers, coolers, outside food or beverages or professional photography; no refunds

Sunday, July 16

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

River Rally
Sponsored by Butler Marine of Charleston
Location: Local Waters
Event Details: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Children’s Day
Sponsored by Coastal Orthodontics
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: Free; 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; games, activities, shows, bounce house,prizes

Shrimp Boat Tours
Sponsored by Sea Eagle Market
Location: Waterfront Park Seawall
Event Details: Free; noon-4 p.m.

Teen Dance
Sponsored by John 3:16 Project
Entertainment: DJ Donna
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: $10 | 6-9 p.m.; no entry after 8 p.m.; no re-entry allowed; ages 13-17; ID required; clutch purses only (6-by-9 inches); no refunds; no outside food, beverages or coolers

Monday, July 17

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

* Motown Monday
Sponsored by A&R Dock Builders, McElveen Bail Bonding and Lime Lite Salon
Entertainment: Deas Guyz
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: $15, children under 5 free; gates open 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.; no refunds; no outside food, beverages or coolers 

 

Tuesday, July 18

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Hometown Tuesday
Sponsored by Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce
Headline Entertainment: Bootless
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: Free; gates open 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.; no outside food, beverages or coolers

Wednesday, July 19

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Talent Show
Sponsored by McDonald’s
Hosted by: The Preceptor Omega Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: $10 or free with official 2017 62nd Annual Water Festival T-shirt, children under 5 free; gates open at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m.; no refunds; no outside food, beverages, or coolers

Thursday, July 20

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Lowcountry Supper
Sponsored by WastePro USA
Headline Entertainment: Broke Locals
Opening Entertainment: Eric Daubert
Special Guest Performance: Candice Glover
Featuring: The Whistlers
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: $15, children under 5 free; gates open at 6 p.m.; supper served 6-7:30 p.m.; no refunds; no outside food, beverages or coolers

Friday, July 21

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Bed Race
Sponsored by Lohr Plumbing
Location: Corner of Bay & Harrington
Event Details: $25 entry per team; 4:30 p.m. check-in, 5 p.m. start time; same day registration based on space availability

* River Dance
Sponsored by City Electric Supply
Entertainment: The Band Punch
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: $15; gates open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.; must be 18 or older with valid ID; no refunds; no outside food, beverages, coolers or strollers 

Saturday, July 22

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Water Festival Grand Parade
Sponsored by Moss, Kuhn & Fleming
Organized by: The Beaufort Lions Club
Location: Downtown Beaufort
Event Details: Free; 10 a.m.-noon

Non-Profit Expo
Location: Waterfront Park Pavilion
Event Details: Free; noon-4 p.m.

Air Show
Sponsored by Executive Flight Training
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: Free; 1-4 p.m.; stunt planes, U.S. Coast Guard Search & Rescue demo

Commodore’s Ball
Sponsored by Mike’s Marine Repair
Entertainment: The New Royals
Location: Waterfront Park
Event Details: $10, children under 5 free; gates open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.; no refunds; no outside food, beverages or coolers

Sunday, July 23

Festival Arts & Crafts Market
Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park
Event Details: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats
Sponsored by The Past Commodores of the Beaufort Water Festival
Location: Waterfront Park Seawall
Event Details: Free; noon-2 p.m.; boats must register to be eligible for prizes; all applications must be at the judge’s table prior to noon

Festival ends: 3 p.m.

2017 commodore honored to lead fest

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berry

Photo above: Jason Berry dons the traditional blue blazer after being named the 2017 Beaufort Water Festival commodore during the Change of Watch ceremony in 2016. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

By Sally Mahan

Will the weather hold up?

Will all of the more than 400 volunteers know what to do?

Will the events come off without a hitch?

Those questions and so many more are just a part of the Beaufort Water Festival’s commodore’s job.

It’s a job that is handed off every year at the end of the festival, and in 2016, Jason Berry was officially named the 2017 commodore.

It’s not a job for the weak at heart.

There are a million details to oversee and a million things that can keep you awake at night.

But Berry is definitely cut out for the gig.

He has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and retired as a Naval Hospital corpsman after 22 years. He then worked another 10 years as a safety and occupational health specialist for the U.S. Navy.

This is his 14th year volunteering with the Beaufort Water Festival. Festival Director Adam Aimar and festival consultants Paul Howe and Rand Thacker serve under the commodore.

Berry said he started giving his time because it was something that was so important to him in the military: really being involved in the local community and volunteering.

“I was always raising my hand for deployment, so when Bob Bible, the chief of the Naval Hospital suggested I get involved, I went ahead and became a volunteer for the Water Festival,” he said.

Over his 14 years as a volunteer, he has helped out in many areas. One of his favorite things to do was help organize the sporting events.

“I’m a big sports person myself so I got involved with the golf tournament and the softball tournament,” said Berry. He did everything from helping set up tents, putting together the awards and prizes for the sports events, organizing food, beverages and so much more.

Over the years he has worked as a festival coordinator, helping with productions, sponsors, organization and more.

“It’s not just one time out of the year,” said Berry. “It’s one of the things that kept me involved back then, and then when festival came around I found myself helping out.

“For those 10 days of the festival you’re part of something,” he said. “It’s a good feeling seeing all those people having a great time.”

He harkened back to how far the festival has come since he first started as a volunteer.

“Back in the day we had to build the stage, put up the tents, the fencing, the craft market, the lights, electric … there’s whole a lot to do.”

So what worries him the most about the festival in his role as commodore?

“The biggest thing with Water Festival every year is to not have rain,” he said. “We’re a nonprofit and when one event doesn’t happen it really hurts the bottom line. Rain is always the biggest thing. We’ve found a way to overcome most of the other challenges with  the help of the city.”

He also said the Boundary Street construction is a concern, but he is excited that the festival is offering a shuttle service from the Beaufort County Government Center to some of the events.

Berry said his favorite event is the opening ceremony.

“After working long hours to set this up and that Friday when everything is ready to go and the crowd is there to listen to the Marine Corps band and people come together, well, I walk through that crowd and it feels so good to have helped put this together.”

He’s particularly excited about a free Thursday concert with “American Idol” winner Candice Glover, the air show and the fact that the ski show is returning to the festival.

Berry added that when he was chosen as commodore, “it was absolutely surreal for me. Not being a local person makes it even more special. The community has put their faith and trust in me. That’s really worth everything.”

Water Fest 2017 notes

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Photo above: Bed racers from H&S Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, get the full force attack by a bucket of water straight to the face at the 2016 Beaufort Water Festival Bed Races. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Parking

As anyone who has ever attended the Beaufort Water Festival, parking can be tricky. However, this year the organizers have added a shuttle from the Beaufort County Government Center at 100 Ribaut Road for some of the popular events. 

Road/river closings

• The Beaufort River will be closed from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, July 22

• Bay Street between Harrington and Charles will be closed from 5-6 p.m. Friday, July 21, and from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 22.

 

 

The weather

The weather can be somewhat unpredictable in July, however, the Water Festival has a covered stage and most musical acts will play in a light rain or drizzle. Occasionally they have to wait out a sudden shower. In the case of a total rain out, no refunds will be issued.

Order tickets

Events that require tickets include the Concert in the Park, Motown Monday, Teen Dance, Talent Show, Lowcountry Supper, River Dance and the Commodore’s Ball. They can be purchased in advance at www.bftwaterfestival.com/event-tickets.html.  

Online

There is now an official social media hash tag for Water Festival, #BftH20Fest. Now visitors can “tag” Water Festival when posting pictures – and selfies – to social media. 

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