Immerse yourself into the quirky charm that is Bluffton, SC for a few hours during the 34th annual Bluffton Village Festival. Coordinated by The Rotary Club of Bluffton, the festival, also known as Mayfest, will be held on Saturday, May 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
I love a good festival and this one leaves nothing for want. First off there is the setting of Old Town with its burgeoning revitalization including art galleries and working studios, delightful cafés, and boutique shops. And there are, of course, the personalities that really make Bluffton and this festival special. Long-time Bluffton resident and business owner of The Store (located on Calhoun Street) Babie Guscio started the festival because there was nowhere for townspeople and it’s children, in particular, to be exposed to the various artists, musicians and craftsmen living and working in the area.
The festival became “the people’s festival,” Guscio said, and “a celebration of Bluffton life.” The art show was not juried because she couldn’t bear the thought of saying “no” to any artist and wanted to include not only painters and sculptors but also the handiwork of any local artisans who wished to participate.
The food vendors at the festival still include the ladies of The Church of the Cross offering their beloved shrimp salad sandwiches. Be sure to arrive well before the lunch hour to claim your sandwich as they usually sell out quickly. In the past, some food vendor “regulars” included the man from Denmark, S.C. who came to make and sell his homemade peach ice cream, the crab cakes and shrimp burgers cooked up by local Ronnie Frazier and the “famous Ulmer bread” that was sold by the United Methodist Church of Bluffton.
All along the festival route, there will be all kinds of tempting food fare available for sale including barbecue, homemade baked treats, Gullah-inspired foods, burgers and hot dogs, onsite-made lemonade, strawberry shortcake, and much more. Just park you car and follow the taste-bud percolating scents. And if you want to take an authentic Bluffton souvenir home there will be local produced honey, preserves, seafood and the like for your procurement.
“There’s a bit of romance and drama about the whole [festival] because you don’t know exactly what will be under the vendors’ tents,” Guscio adds. And even though she turned the event over to the Rotary Club of Bluffton four years ago so that “other ideas could be embroidered into
the fabric of the festival,” the spirit of the event remains laid-back and THE gathering spot for Bluffton locals on the Saturday before Mother’s Day.
Since it’s Mother’s Day weekend (and I’m a Mom) I know I’ll be there enjoying a lovely May morning under the shady oaks, seeing friends, eating some wonderful local fare and getting a sweet taste of that ‘Bluffton state of mind.’
Ugly Dog Contest: The 24th annual Ugly Dog contest is at 1 p.m. on the porch of Sprouts (store on Calhoun Street).
Parking: This year there will be free parking at Red Cedar Elementary with shuttle service to Calhoun Street available from 9 a.m. to 5p.m.
Besides those mentioned above, some of my favorite vendors participating this year (and there are over 100) include:
- Artware, Inc.
- Bluffton Oyster Company
- Calhoun Station
- Claudine’s Creperie
- Four Corners Gallery
- Gigi’s Boutique
- Giuseppi’s Pizza
- Lee Bees
- Maranatha Farms
- May River Montessori
- May River Orchids
- Melly Mell’s
- Palmetto Animal League
- Palmetto Kettle Corn
- The Storybook Shoppe
Pus many, many more…discover something unique and wonderful at the Bluffton Village Festival!
History provided by the Bluffton Village Festival Committee coordinated by the Rotary Club of Bluffton – thank you!