October 2013

9th Annual Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival

Author: Debbie Szpanka

Ask anyone who lives in Bluffton why they live there, and you will likely hear a love story. It’s a shared love for the authentic way of life, laid-back people and fun, funky festivals and events. Their eyes sparkle brightest and their voices become most expressive when Blufftonians speak of how lucky they are to live in a town where Mother Nature has left one of her most beautiful works of art: the May River. The 9th Annual Bluffton Historic Arts and Seafood Festival is a ceremony to love, honor and cherish all that comes from her.

“This is a celebration of all that the May River offers Bluffton: seafood, history, culture, artwork, and that wonderful feeling that everyone feels when you look at her,” said Mary O’Neill, festival board president. “We want people to make the connection to the May River. Having a fun festival to celebrate all that comes from the river is a way for others to make the connection that everyone needs to do their part to protect this crown jewel of the Lowcountry. We do what we do so Bluffton residents and guests can cherish her for generations to come.”

For nearly a decade, this festival has grown from a daylong celebration to weeklong festival, showcasing Bluffton’s locally harvested seafood, delicious Lowcountry cuisine, richly-layered history, local artists and Bluffton’s own fun, laid-back Southern hospitality.

Mark your calendars for October 13 through the 20 as the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood festival has evolved to include more fun, educational, May River-inspired activities than ever before. This year’s festival features Southern author, Susan Rebecca White and her recently released book, A Place at the Table. You can learn more about the abundance of local natural resources on the October 14 tour of Bluffton’s Waddell Mariculture Center, followed by a crab-pickin’ and oyster-shuckin’ demonstration. Paddle board tours of the May River are new this year; anyone with his or her own paddle board or kayak can tag along and enjoy these guided tours. Kayaks will also be available for rent. The festival ends with its highlight, the street fest, featuring a juried fine art show with more than 100 artists from 10 states displaying and selling their art.

Highlights and Schedule of the Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival

Sunday, October 13 Opening Day
Friends of Bluffton Artists’ 2nd Annual Invitational Artist Showcase/Live Entertainment (11 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Location: Calhoun Street

Boat Parade on the May/Blessing of Fleet (4 p.m.)
Location: Church of the Cross, end of Calhoun Street.
New This Year: Al Stokes will be honored as the Admiral of the Fleet.
Admiral Al will lead the boat parade and Blessing of the Fleet on the May River. Admiral Al is the manager and wildlife biologist of Bluffton’s Waddell Mariculture Center, one of the nation’s largest and most sophisticated facilities for mariculture research. Throughout the years, the Waddell Center has released millions of cobia, spotted sea trout, red drum and striped bass into the water of Beaufort County. It also conducts extensive research on the effects of storm water in Beaufort County’s sensitive saltwater marsh.

Bring your lawn chair, view the boat parade and listen to inspiring gospel music on the bluff. If you have a boat, make plans to gather at the Sandbar at 3 p.m. and proceed to the Church of the Cross.

Oyster Fest (5 p.m.-8 p.m.)
Location: Bluffton Oyster Factory Park
Join the Bluffton community for the first oyster roast of the season. Shrimp boil and barbeque also available. Spike Ivory will provide live entertainment.

Monday, October 14, 2013
Kayak & Paddle Board Tours on the May River (8 a.m. & 10 a.m.)
(Note: Tours are Monday-Saturday)
New This Year: Paddle boards join the tours!

“Early-bird” tours start at 8 a.m. ($20 per person)/10 a.m. tour ($25 per person). Each tour is 90 minutes. Anyone with a paddle board or kayak can “tag along.” Tours limited to 17 people. Call (843) 684-3296 for information or reservations.

May River Boat Tours with May River Excursions (Several tours each day/top of the hour).
(Note: Tours are Monday-Saturday)
Location: Calhoun Street Dock.
Captain Chris and his crew will show you the May, its wildlife, its history and features of this tidal estuary. Cost is $20 per person. Call Captain Chris for information and reservations, (843) 304-2878.

Dinner and Tour of Waddell Mariculture Center (5: 30 p.m.)
New This Year: Watch a crab-pickin’ and oyster-shuckin’ demonstration after Admiral Al Stokes, manager of wildlife biologist of the center, presents a tour of Waddell Mariculture Center. Dinner to follow; tickets are $30. Call Mary O’Neill for reservations, (843) 815-2472.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Kayak & Paddle Board Tours (843) 684-3296
May River Boat Tours (843) 304-2878

Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Kayak & Paddle Board Tours (843) 684-3296
May River Boat Tours (843) 304-2878

A Location: Rotary Community Center at Oscar Frazier Park
New This Year: Welcome Atlanta-based author, Susan Rebecca White, this year’s celebrated author.

White’s book, “A Place at the Table,” celebrates Southern cuisine and how it finds a place in our everyday lifestyle, relationships and cravings. White will speak about her works and sign books.
Tickets are $10. Dinner catered by Reeves Outdoor Catering. Proceeds will benefit Waddell Mariculture Center. For more information and tickets, call (843) 815-2472.

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Kayak & Paddle Board Tours (843) 684-3296
May River Boat Tours (843) 304-2878

Friday, October 18, 2013
Kayak & Paddle Board Tours (843) 684-3296
May River Boat Tours (843) 304-2878

Paddling Parade (2-4 p.m.)
Location: Bluffton Oyster Factory
New This Year: Join fellow paddlers for an outing in May River estuaries. For more information, call Roddy Medders at (843) 368-8690.

Family Night at the Promenade (6-9 p.m.)
Bring your lawn chair and enjoy a night on the Promenade. Friday night’s activities include storytelling, movies and art activities for every age.

Saturday, October 19, 2013
Kayak & Paddle Board Tours (843) 684-3296
May River Boat Tours (843) 304-2878

10K Road Race & 5K Fun Run (8–10: 30 a.m.)
Location: Bluffton Oyster Factory Park
New This Year: The festival added a 10K race.
Both races will be professionally chip-timed. Join the races for either the fast-paced 10K or the Family Fun 5K Race.

Children’s Fishing Tournament (10 a.m.-2 p.m.)
Location: Bluffton Oyster Factory Park/Registration
No fee. Prizes will be awarded. Weigh-in at 2 p.m. at the Calhoun Street Dock.

Arts & Seafood Street Fest (10 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Location: Calhoun Street
Street fest features more than 100 juried local and regional artists from 10 states. The spectrum of artistic mediums includes oils, pastels, acrylics, photography, pottery, ceramics, watercolor and much more. Enjoy live entertainment throughout the day and see local chefs compete in the “Art of Cuisine” Iron Chef Challenge from 11 a.m.-12: 30 p.m.

Rockin’ on the Dock (6 p.m.-dusk)
Location: Bluffton Oyster Company
Seafood tasting, live entertainment and fireworks at dusk.

Sunday, October 20, 2013
Arts and Seafood Street Fest (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Bluffton’s First-Ever Paddle Sports Race (10 a.m.)
Location: Bluffton Oyster Company Park
New This Year: “Paddle Battle” will consist of a three- and six-mile race. Fee is $20. For more information, call (843) 368-8690. 

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