Bluffton kicks off week-long arts and seafood festival

Bluffton kicks off week-long arts and seafood festival
Bluffton residents shuck oysters at the annual festival! (Source: WTOC)

BLUFFTON, S.C. (WTOC) -Thousands of people in Bluffton will spend the next week celebrating their community and all it has to offer. The party, now in its 15th year, is one of the biggest events in the town.

Organizers proudly recall how this festival started more than a decade ago as a one-day event. Now it covers much of the month, celebrating life along the river in Bluffton.

The waters of the May River run through almost every part of life in Bluffton. Sunday’s blessing of the fleet pays tribute to the impact boats have on the economy: from recreation to those who fish, shrimp, and harvest the oyster beds. Festival organizers say the blessing helps get oyster season off to a good start.

“We have a minister or priest on the dock and as they pass by, they get blessed,” said Mary O’Neill, president of the festival.

From there, crowds hit the park for the first oyster roast of the season. O’Neill reminded everyone how the festival started to highlight the community and draw attention to Bluffton.

“We have our unbelievably wonderful river here,” she said. “We thought it should be part of the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival. We highlight our river because of the festival.”

They hope the festival reminds locals of the rich culture here and offers visitors reasons to come back for more.

The festival continues this week with tours of the Mariculture Center, a book discussion of local author and legend Pat Conroy and more.

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