The Beaufort tradition continues in its 61st year- the Beaufort Water Festival opened on Friday night, with concert and fireworks. The Parris Island Marine Band played into the night, after words from this year’s Commodore Chris Canaday.
The festival is 10 days of events which embody the character of the Lowcountry and Beaufort. There’s a fishing tournament, boat races, and blessing of the fleet, to name a few. However, the festival has a slightly different significance, depending on who you ask.
To Canaday, the festival is a family tradition. It also reminds him of the lifestyle he enjoys and the scenery by the waterfront park, looking out over the Beaufort River.
“That’s why it’s called the ‘Water Festival,’ because you can’t beat this view,” Canaday says.
“I’m a native of Beaufort. I grew up here and my dad was actually involved with Water Festival when I was younger. So, I’ve kind of been around Water Festival,” Canaday says.
To Parris Island Marine Band Officer Stephen Giove, the 61st opening ceremony marks the close of his career. He chose the Beaufort tradition as the last concert he will direct before retirement.
“It’s my last show as an active duty Marine,” Giove says. “This venue is special because it’s our home team. It’s our home turf,” Giove says,”and I figure this would be a good place to do it.”
Before the crowd his band appreciates, playing into the night to signal another year by the water, Giove says it’s an emotional time.
“It is bittersweet…crocodile tears, if you will…and the people are so kind and they follow the Parris Island Marine Band throughout the year and at different venues and a lot of them come here as a culmination of the summer,” he says.