Beaufort Annual Events: Fun Festivals Bring Community Together

Some know Beaufort as a coastal town in South Carolina’s Sea Islands. Others know it’s a popular location for film shoots. However, this town is also full of diverse culture, Southern hospitality and great seafood. Start exploring all the fun with these Beaufort annual events and find things to do.

Popular Beaufort Annual Events: Where to Play and Meet Locals

beaufort annual events oyster festival

Tides to Tables

Held in January, Tides to Tables is a 10-day food festival that showcases area restaurants, agriculture companies, non-profits and more businesses showcase the best of Beaufort’s food scene. During Tides to Tables, visitors receive special dining options and pricing from select restaurants.

Beaufort Oyster Festival

Beaufort Oyster Festival is part of Tides to Tables. The full event coincides with Tides to Tables in honor of South Carolina Restaurant Week.

Beaufort Oyster Festival features fresh oysters and live music occurring over one weekend. There are also community and competitive shucks, a marathon, and family-friendly activities. Guests can try oysters fried, roasted, steamed and on the half. Those not into seafood will find turkey legs, chili, corn dogs and burgers.

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Beaufort International Film Festival

With Blockbusters like Forest Gump and The Fugitive shot in Beaufort, it’s no surprise the area is a mecca for film lovers. One of the best ways local celebrate this is at the Beaufort International Film Festival.

This event draws locals and celebrities from all over to watch selected films over six days. On the first night, guests enjoy attending an opening ceremony. Throughout the week, dozens of film premiere at selected venues in Beaufort. The last night features an awards ceremony and cocktail hour. Films include documentaries, shorts, student films, animation, comedy and full-length features.

The Original Gullah Festival

Gullah culture is a way of life in South Carolina. It embodies stories, music, food and lifestyles steeped in African influence. To honor that heritage, visitors attend the Original Gullah Festival.

During the three-day event over Memorial Day weekend, visitors gather to share Gullah culture. Guests enjoy family-friendly entertainment, live music, lots of local food, African drums, history and homemade crafts. Plus, local residents are happy to share what they love most about Gullah traditions and their community.

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The Annual Beaufort Water Festival

For more than 65 years, Beaufort Water Festival has welcomed visitors to celebrate Beaufort and the people who have shaped it into the award-winning small town it is today.

For nine days in July, the area explodes with fun things to do and local vendors. Opening fireworks, bands, and local shopping kick off the event. Action-packed activities follow such as raft races, tournaments in badminton, children’s toad fishing and bocce, and raft races.

For more fun, visitors will find boat tours, live concerts, water-ski shows, teen dances, talent shows, community suppers, air show and parades. There is also plenty of shopping and dining. Due to the size of the event, visitors should plan ahead and consider staying in local accommodations.

Shrimp Festival

In October, visitors enjoy sampling some of the best local food at Beaufort Shrimp Festival. This event ranks among the best Beaufort annual events for its creative shrimp dishes prepared by local chefs.

For one weekend, guests shop arts and crafts, listen to live music, and participate in fun activities. Plus, there is a kids corner so young ones can play and get their face painted. In addition, the event hosts a Forest Gump-themed 5K and rotary shrimp race.

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Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens

Also in autumn, Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens takes place in October. It draws history and Southern culture fans from all over as they browse beautiful homes and gardens in the town.

Those attending get an interesting look at the local community as residents open their private homes and gardens to the public. The Friday Walking Tour explores these homes and their architecture. Other events include a Lowcountry picnic at an estate, Sunday brunch at a formal home and garden, and Lowcountry Art Walk showcasing Beaufort’s galleries.

Night on the Town

One of Beaufort’s most popular holiday events is Night on the Town. The event serves as part of the Beaufort Holiday weekend in early December.

Family-friendly events and holiday cheer welcome all ages. A Night on the Town features a tree lighting ceremony with entertainment, food and shopping. Then guests enjoy a vibrant lighted boat parade at a waterfront park and lively Christmas parade in downtown Beaufort.

Need a place to stay during these Beaufort annual events? Find vacation rentals in Beaufort and other islands.

Read about fun things to do in Beaufort and family-friendly activities.