Preparations underway for 61st Annual Beaufort Water Festival

Preparations are underway for the 61st Annual Beaufort Water Festival.

Thousands will soon pack Beaufort’s Waterfront Park for the ten-day festival.

“On the weekends, we have a bunch of water sporting events. We have concerts at night, pretty much every night,” said Chris Canaday, the festival’s 2016 Commodore.

The event kicks off on Friday with the opening ceremonies.

“My favorite night has always been the opening ceremonies. It's a free event so the community can come down, families can come down. It's the Parris Island Marine Corps Band playing, it's the fireworks,” Canaday said.

Crews worked all day in Wednesday’s heat preparing the stage for the musical acts.

“We have Canaan Smith and LoCash are going to be playing here at the Concert in the Park on Saturday night, two young up-and-coming country stars, so we're really excited about that,” Canaday said.

This year, organizers have also found a new way to give back.

“One thing that will be new is we're doing a recycling initiative in the park this year. We're teaming up with the City of Beaufort Fire Department, and it will benefit the Burned Children’s Fund and Camp Candoo,” Canaday said.

The festival brings in 60,000 to 80,000 people each year.

“Water Festival has an annual economic impact of 6 to 7 million dollars per year,” said Robb Wells of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.

While many come from out of town for the event, it also provides a unique opportunity for locals to celebrate their home town.

“It’s just to give back to the community. It’s something for them to come out and enjoy and celebrate all that is Beaufort,” Canaday said.

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