Visitors spent $7 million during Beaufort Water Festival, organizers say


BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – Organizers of the 64th Beaufort Water Festival are cleaning up after more than a week of activities and concerts.

They say 2019 was a record year that brought in more visitors and more dollars. Todd Stowe — the man in charge of sponsors — says people spent $7 million in the city.

“Hotels were at 85 percent occupancy,” he said. “That’s people coming into town, eating, going out, shopping, buying gas. It’s a multiplier effect.”

He says around 65,000 people chose to stop by.

“When you’re helping the water festival, you’re also helping the community. And it doesn’t hurt that you’re helping businesses as well,” said Stowe.

The festival’s timing is key. A July event helps local artisans — like Casey Corley — during the slow summer months.

“I put a business card on every piece I make and it’s going out there,” he said. “It’s floating around. You build enough of that, you get results.”

Some people say a refreshing breeze and a lot of sun made this festival more successful than the last.

“We had a rough run last year because of the weather and I think this year we made up for it,” said Melina Lee, the festival’s merchandise director.

Stowe says the city and local businesses get another big boost after everything is cleaned up.

“They get a big kick after the festival,” he said.

Organizers say this year was so successful, they will not change much next year for the 65th Annual Beaufort Water Festival.

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