ANNUAL FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
Whether it’s celebrating the water, history, shrimp, culture, food, or even a holiday, the Beaufort area has rewritten the rules when it comes to putting on festivals and events. You can almost bet that something is going on nearly every single week. In a community so rich in history and culture, there are a multitude of reasons to be so festive.
For a full listing of Beaufort-area festivals and events including dates, times, and in-depth info, check out our Event Calendar.
To view THOUSANDS of photos from Beaufort’s many festivals and events, please visit our Photo Gallery
Here’s a preview of some of Beaufort’s larger festivals:
For 60 years The Beaufort Water Festival has been celebrating the local traditions of water, sports, and entertainment. With a new theme and a different Commodore every year, the 10 day festival takes place like clockwork in mid-July at downtown Beaufort’s Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Amazing waterskiing shows, dances, concerts, Shagging, a teen dance, sporting, and many other events take place at The Beaufort Water Festival with over 400 dedicated volunteers banding together to bring the events to approximately 50,000 attendees who converge on Beaufort from all over the southeast, and the rest of the U.S.
The Beaufort Shrimp Festival has been celebrating local shrimp and the local shrimping industry for several years. Thousands flock to the festival which is held on the first Friday & Saturday in October. Enjoy local restaurants competing against each other for bragging rights with their shrimp recipes, live concerts and entertainment, craft vendors, a 5K Race, and more. Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort provides the perfect location for this event. Visit www.beaufortshrimpfest.com for information on this year’s Beaufort Shrimp Festival.
During the Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens visitors are invited to explore Beaufort from a very rare vantage point: a selection of private homes, gardens, and plantations normally not open to the public welcomes visitors inside. The houses represent three centuries of Beaufort architecture for which the city is justly famous. These self-paced walking tours offer a distinctive opportunity to observe how contemporary lifestyles are lived within the framework of our unmatched architectural heritage. The Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens is held annually in late October, and is hosted by the Historic Beaufort Foundation. For more information, please visit Historic Beaufort Foundation’s website at www.historicbeaufort.org
The Gullah Festival of South Carolina celebrates and recognizes the history, customs, cultures, language and accomplishments of the African Americans of the Lowcountry. The festival is always held on the weekend leading up to Memorial Day.
At ‘A Taste of Beaufort’, you can experience all of Beaufort’s diverse culinary cuisines in one single day. 15 restaurants come to downtown Beaufort’s Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park the first Saturday in May each year to give everyone a ‘taste’ of what they have to offer. With great local food, live regional bands, a local craft market, children’s activities, and a 5K run, there’s no shortage of fun for anyone. Visit www.downtownbeaufort.com for information on this year’s festival.
Beaufort’s Light Up the Night Boat Parade is the city’s annual Christmas parade of festively decorated boats on the Beaufort River in downtown. It’s quite the unique event and a must-see if you’re in town during the Holiday Season. The parade occurs the same weekend as the Night on the Town Celebration, and the city’s Christmas tree lighting. Celebrate Christmas, Beaufort-style.
Spring means warm weather, and trees and flowers in bloom, and on Paris Avenue in the Old Village of Port Royal it also means soft shell crabs. Each year in late April this short-lived season of the crustacean is celebrated at the Soft Shell Crab Festival. Along with a classic car show, a craft fair and flea market, there’s a multitude of food vendors and LOTS of soft shell crabs. The local elementary school hosts a children’s Spring Festival, and the Lowcountry Estuarium and Port Royal Historic Foundation are all on-hand with local Fire Department, Clemson Cooperative, and other local organizations.
Recognizing aspiring filmmakers from around the world, of almost every genre, the Beaufort International Film Festival draws nearly 14,000 fans to each yearly event, and its popularity is soaring. With a Hollywood celebrity presence each year including past attendees Blythe Danner, Tom Berenger, Powers Boothe, Andie MacDowell and more, it’s certainly the thing-to-do in Beaufort every February. Also it provides an opportunity to showcase the beautiful “film-friendly” region of Beaufort and the Sea Islands. For the past quarter of a century Beaufort has served as the backdrop for more than 20 major motion pictures.
Re-live some of your favorite Beaufort events with our Beaufort Videos page. See footage from the Beaufort Water Festival, Candice Glover live in concert, Gary Sinise and Lt. Dan Band, Parades, Flash Mobs and more.