Local Festival Guide

There are many reasons to celebrate in Beaufort, South Carolina, and the neighboring sea islands and communities that make up the Lowcountry. For starters, a rich history has left a legacy of historic houses and grand plantations. The coastal scenery delights and kind weather lets gardens bloom year round. Our residents love to share their stories, traditions, sports and recipes for food and laughter.

With such resources and enthusiasm, it is no wonder that our annual calendar is crowded with festivals-all boasting a unique Lowcountry flavor.

If you’ve never attended a Lowcountry festival, treat yourself! W’’ve profiled 14 events sure to entertain, educate and delight. They range from intimate gatherings to major events like Water Festival, Gullah Festival and Penn Center Heritage Days-all named “Top 20 Events” in recent years by the Southeast Tourism Society.

PORT ROYAL SPRING TOUR & CELEBRATION  

Port Royal-Beaufort’s historic neighbor and a celebrated arts center-will combine its tour of private historic homes and gardens with a parade, an exhibit of antique automobiles, colorful Civil War reenactments, and interesting for-sale displays by arts and crafts vendors. Tour proceeds will help restore historic Union Church.

GALLERY WALKS

In concert with spring and fall tour schedules, nine downtown art galleries open from 5 to 8 p.m. to showcase local artists, many appearing in person to discuss their work. Special exhibits of oils, prints, sculpture and more plus refreshments.

FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION

At the Sands in Town of Port Royal. Fireworks at dusk, live band, concessions, family fun to celebrate Independence Day.

HOME & GARDEN/PARADE OF HOMES

Shop, learn and enjoy at the Home & Garden Show. Booths spotlight innovations. Garden clubs display. The Parade of Homes features new houses by premier builders that showcase the latest designs, interiors, materials.

GULLAH FESTIVAL

Founded to celebrate sea island “Gullah” hertiage, a compelling mix of West African legacy and American experience-the festival includes a Wednesday conference, arts and crafts exhibits, workshops, plays, performances by dancers and musicians, and exciting international cuisine.

PENN CENTER HERTIAGE DAYS

Historic Penn Center hosts this annual event-an exhilarating mix of parade, demonstrations of Gullah skills & crafts, museum tours, salutes to gospel singing, story telling, prayer meetings, dance traditions, homegrown taste sensations, symposia, art exhibits and fashion shows.

A NIGHT ON THE TOWN & THE FESTIVAL OF TREES

At A Night on the Town, downtown Beaufort opens its doors for a holiday open house with unique shopping, choirs and a tree lighting. Festival of Trees boasts over 70 hand-decorated Christmas trees. Come for lunch, enjoy entertainment. Visit Santa’s shop for handcrafted gifts. Proceeds support “Friends.”

If you’re devoted to one festival, discover Beaufort’s pleasures in another season. Come celebrate!

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