Holiday weekend in Beaufort sets the season

by John C. Williams
This weekend ushers in the holiday season with three days of fun – Night on the Town Friday, the boat parade Saturday evening and then the annual downtown Beaufort Christmas parade Sunday.

The annual events, coupled with free downtown parking, originally were designed to boost holiday shopping in the mostly local-owned stores and boutiques in downtown Beaufort. Today the events also serve a social function, bringing together friends and families to enjoy caroling, performances by school choruses and local singing groups, and a downtown holiday block party.

Perhaps best of all in this economy, all the events are free. Main Street Beaufort USA, the downtown revitalization organization, is the lead sponsor for the weekend’s events with the City of Beaufort.

Night on the Town is this Friday, Dec. 4, from 6-8 p.m. through the downtown shopping district roughly bounded by Carteret, Bay, Church and Port Republic streets. Most stores will be open to sell their wares and share some holiday spirits, and food will be sold. The evening also includes lighting of the city’s Christmas Tree and a performance by the Parris Island Band.

The ‘Light up the Night’ boat parade is Saturday, starting about 6 p.m., in the Beaufort River with the best viewing from the Henry Chambers Waterfront Park or the high bluff along Bay Street. Boats decorated with lights and other festive nautical trimmings run the waterway, reconnecting our Lowcountry traditions tied to the waters. The event is sponsored by the City of Beaufort and the Beaufort Sail & Power Squadron.

Children’s Parade is Sunday, starting at 3 p.m., through the usual downtown parade route with the best viewing along Carteret and Bay streets. This is a true example of a hometown parade – don’t look for any elaborate, Macy-style floats, but do look for lots of happy, smiling people who seem to know everyone else in the parade.

For more information, call Main Street Beaufort at 525-6644.

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