The landscape of Bluffton is its own work of art—which explains why, for years, our town and environs has been an inspiration for artists from near and far. And, as is well documented in our own Foodie Vibe blog, Bluffton’s growing and diverse restaurant scene, award-winning farmers market and access to local seafood makes for authentic, tasty dining. Combine the two – along with a myriad of educational, cultural, outdoor and family-friendly activities and voilà you have the Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival. The festival organizers have added the tagline “Where Fine Art & The Bounty of the Sea Come Together”- very suitable for this wonderful 7-day artsy-foodie extravaganza.
The Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival, held October 12-19, 2014 across various locations in greater Bluffton, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. In May, the Festival was selected from events across the Southeast region as one of Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events for the month of October 2014!
The highlight of the festival is the Streetfest, which includes a juried fine art show featuring over 100 artists from 10 different states displaying and selling their art. Along Calhoun Street in Old Town Bluffton. Returning events sprinkled throughout the festival include the Blessing of the Fleet, May River excursions, Waddell Mariculture Center tour, author night, kayak and paddleboard races, wine tasting, and the popular 10k/5k race. New to this year’s festival is the Gullah History Celebration along with a tour of the new Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center.
For the outdoor enthusiast, Marshgrass Adventures and Stand and Paddle host the “Paddle Battle” – consisting of a recreational 3-mile and an elite 6-mile race. Kayak and paddleboard tours of the lovely May River will occur twice daily Oct. 13 – 18. Non-paddlers can also participate by taking a boat tour with Cpt. Chris of May River Boat Tours, also offered daily Oct. 13 – 18.
The Dinner & Learn Tour (Oct. 13) at Waddell Mariculture Center includes a unique demonstration in the ‘fine art’ of oyster shucking and crab picking, courtesy of the ladies of The Bluffton Oyster Company. Plus there will be dinner buffet that includes gumbo two ways, salad, dessert and more – catered by the Toomer family, owners of the Bluffton Oyster Company. Bluffton Oyster Company is the last hand-shucking house in the state of South Carolina.
Author Night (Oct. 15) showcases the Lowcountry’s vivid Gullah heritage with a program featuring the effervescent Gullah-Geechee storyteller Louise Cohen and New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry! Cohen is founder and director of the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island and Henry’s book And Then I found You, is set in our very own Bluffton.
Kids are not to be excluded form the fun of the Art & Seafood Festival either! Saturday, Oct. 18 includes children’s fishing tournament at 10 at the Bluffton Oyster Co. and a whole slew of art-centric activities during Art in the Park held under the ‘big tent’ in Old Town from 2 – 5 pm on Sat. Oct. 18 and 11 am – 4 pm on Sun., Oct. 19.
And of course, the week’s highlight is Streetfest (Oct. 18 & 19 in Old Town) where you will find dozens of artists and their art, continuous live music by local and regional acts, educational exhibits and yes, mouthwatering ‘street food’. The hotly contested “Art of Cuisine” Iron Chef Challenge takes place on Saturday (Oct. 18) starting at 11 am in Neptune’s Galley – cheer on your favorite chef to culinary seafood victory! And if you’re up for even more fun and seafood after the Streetfest head over to Rockin’ On The Dock also on Saturday (6 pm – dusk) for more delicious seafood, music and fireworks!
Info You Need to Know:
October 13-19, 2014 at various locations and times
Some events require reservations and/or payment. Visit blufftonartsandseafoodfestival.com for complete details and contact information
No Parking in downtown Bluffton (Old Town) during the Festival
Free Shuttles provided from Red Cedar Elementary (Bluffton Parkway to Red Cedar Street)