• Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine

Story By Cindy Reid    Photos By Susan DeLoach

Is there any special occasion in our life that doesn’t include food? Beaufort loves a party and they do love good food. What Southerner doesn’t?  In fact, who doesn’t love a party with delectable hors d’oeuvres, delicious tapas and scrumptious goodies?

     Award winning Chef Debbi Covington’s sophisticated upscale catering company has been a Beaufort presence for twenty years, creating food that is gorgeous and delectable. Most likely you have enjoyed her culinary arts at a cocktail party, luncheon, anniversary party, wedding or special event such as the Beaufort International Film Festival. One bite and you too will be hooked on Catering by Debbi Covington!

      Debbi is originally from Wilson, NC. She met future husband Vince Covington while they were attending Atlantic Christian College. She says,”After graduation, Vince was here in Beaufort and I was in Raleigh. We got married and I moved to Beaufort. It was 1991 and I thought I had gone back in time. Sams Point Road was a two lane road, and part of it was dirt!” She continues, “I had no job prospects. I had a BS in Business Administration and had been working in personnel management in Raleigh. When I moved to Beaufort, I typed up my resume and took it to Budget Print just to make copies and David Woods hired me on the spot. I spent four months making copies and meeting everyone in town. Then, I took a position at First Presbyterian Church where I worked for fourteen years as the Pastor’s secretary. I loved my job and I did a little bit of everything, from designing the bulletin to counting the Sunday offering.”

      In 1997, after five years of working at the church, Debbi started catering in her free time. She says, “The plan was that I was only going to cater part time, but people started hiring me, and here I am. We built our house to include a professional kitchen that conforms to DHEC standards. Vince’s Dad owned Broad River Seafood back then and he helped us work to meet all of the legal requirements and regulations. We would have built a much bigger kitchen if I had known how busy I would end up being!”

      Debbi’s affinity for cooking goes way back. When asked who her mentor was she answers quickly “My Mama. I am doing what my Mama wanted to do. She was a home economics teacher who loved to cook. After I was born, she became a stay at home mom so I was raised in the kitchen. I was always in the kitchen stirring a bowl and helping. As I got a little older, I would bake a cake for my Daddy every Saturday. My business enables me to do what I love.”

     What does a professional chef and caterer bring to their clients? Debbi says, “I can explain what foods are best served at certain venues, I can give people options they may not know exist. I can tell them about new flavors and new food trends. So many amazing foods are available to us these days.  Remember we eat with our eyes first! Catered food always needs to taste as good as it looks.”

     Catering by Debbi Covington caters many weddings every year, events that can be as challenging as they are rewarding. She says, “The most challenging issue is to keep food safe, to keep it hot, fresh, and/or cold all at the same time. My number one priority is serving delicious, healthy and beautiful food. But this is not the Food Network- notice I wear no jewelry or nail polish!” She continues,” But it is all worthwhile when an event goes really well.  When people come up to you and tell you it’s the best food they ever had at a wedding, well that’s a good day at work.”

      Not only a chef and caterer, Debbi is a well known and prolific food writer. She has been writing a bi-monthly column for Lowcountry Weekly for many years and says “It is one the best things I have ever done. The column started out as half a page and no pictures, and is now a full page with color photos. The original title was ‘Easy Cooking with Debbi,’ and now it is ‘Everyday Celebrations.’ Having the column pushes me to create all the time, which is a good thing. Often our weekday dinner ends up in the columns! I celebrated my 250th column a few years ago, and will be coming up on column 300 soon.”

      She has published two cookbooks, “Dining Under the Carolina Moon” in 2005 and “Celebrate Everything!” which came out in 2012. She is currently working on a brand new one, which will be out in March 2018.

     Debbi’s advice for anyone interested in starting a catering business, “You need to really love food. It helps to also have a knack for creativity. The ability to adapt to all kinds of potential emergencies, like rain and power outages is a must.  There’s so much more to it than most people think and the food world is always changing. Presentation styles change and no client wants their event to be ‘dated.’
She says keeping up with personal connections made has been very rewarding, “Staying in touch with ‘my brides’ after the wedding is so much easier with Facebook and I am delighted to follow their lives, their accomplishments and when they have babies. A wedding is such a huge event and you work so closely together, that you have a bond for life. Occasionally I even get to cater the baby shower! We connect and I have made lifelong friends through my business.”

     In addition to her busy catering and publishing schedules, Debbi finds time to give back to the Beaufort community. She says, “I work with lots of non-profits including the Santa Elena Foundation, Historic Beaufort Foundation, Beaufort International Film Festival, Open Land Trust, Boys and Girls Club — too many to name them all. My special love is the Tabby House.”

Walk into Hometown Realty and you will immediately feel right at home. The bright and comfortable office is inviting and you might even be greeted by Buzz, a sweet rescued greyhound. There will be no hard sell, because as owner Pat Harvey Palmer says, “I do not consider my job to be sales. All I do is help people accomplish their goals whether it’s buying, selling, investing or building.”

     For twenty five years Pat and her staff have been doing just that, one satisfied customer at a time.

Pat came to Beaufort from an international background. “I was raised in South America. Eight years in Lima, Peru where I graduated from high school; 3 years in Venezuela, Maracaibo and Caracas and a year in Quito, Ecuador.”

     She says, “ A formative issue in my life was that my biological father was killed in WWII one month before I was born. And,  when I was in my teens horses, became my very best friends and support system. I was the youngest and only North American on the Peruvian Equestrian Team for eight years jumping internationally in South America. Among other issues, they helped influence my life and who I am today.”

     Like so many others, the Marine Corps brought Pat to Beaufort in 1966; but not to stay and  the next twelve years were spent moving to a variety of locations in the United States. She held many jobs before getting into real estate, including the Peace Corps, radio advertising and working at the Jewish Community Center in Schenectady N.Y.

     In 1978, Pat returned to Beaufort as a single parent with two children to raise. She says, “It was critical for me to find a job, which happened quickly as a secretary with a local real estate company. After watching and listening to the agents, it did not take me long to realize that I had to be a part of this profession and do things ‘my way.’ Because I could not give up a guaranteed salary, l was given the opportunity to list and sell real estate part time after work and on the weekends. So, two days later I had my first sale which started me on my way to what has become 39 years of full time involvement in real estate.”

     In the mid 1980’s she opened Pat Harvey Realty. But after four years of hard work, she says “I thought it would be great to just be a normal agent buying and selling and not worry about all the details involved with owning a company. So, I joined a local ERA firm. But I finally realized that I was destined to run the whole show and not just list and sell. So in 1992 I opened Hometown Realty on Lady’s Island with the goal of offering a warm, friendly, family type of atmosphere to agents interested in this profession. We have survived the ups and downs over the last 25 years and plan to continue to do so.”

     She says, “Real estate does not give me time to get bored.  However, I do call it the ‘Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat,’ as there are a lot of emotions involved with many of my transactions. People have changes in their personal lives that involve real estate in one way or another.”

     She says “The challenge lately seems to be keeping peace with the buyers, sellers and cooperating agents as we move forward to hopefully have a successful closing. When I first started years ago things were simple- we had to get a meeting of the minds so everybody worked together to help make this happen and most closings were very happy times for both the buyers and the sellers. Now it seems like everyone knows more about real estate than those of us that have been involved 24/7 for the last four decades.”

     But she says, “Fortunately, I have been involved in mediation for the last twenty years which certainly helps get over the hurdles. The most satisfying reward is having everyone happy at closing and pleased with the representation we have given them.”

     Having been a Realtor for 39 years, Pat has had a lot of professional involvement, including four time Past President of the Beaufort County Association of Realtors, where she was named Realtor of the Year twice. In addition, she has served on numerous committees but mainly Professional Standards for the last 25 years or so, as well as attending Mediator Training on the state and national level.

“I think that a great number of people never find a job that gives them total satisfaction,” Pat says, “ I have been blessed to find exactly what I was meant to do in life and plan to continue to help as many people as I can for as long as I can.”

     Most people know that Pat has been very involved with the Beaufort Lions Club for almost 30 years helping with all endeavors to preserve eye sight and correct vision problems by screening applications to purchase glasses for the less fortunate. She has been Past President twice, and  Zone Chair covering Sun City, Hilton Head and Hardeeville for the last 4 years, as well as  organizing the Water Festival Parade and the Christmas Parade every year for the last 10 years.

     She is a Charter Member of the Lady’s Island Business and Professional Association (LIBPA)  which was organized in 1982 and was instrumental in starting a realistic numbering system and naming the roads on Lady’s Island which led to the start of the 911 system.  Pat is currently the treasurer of LIBPA. She has been a  Commissioner, and Treasurer, for the last 17 years for the Lady’s Island – St. Helena Fire District. She is a member of the Lady’s Island Community Preservation Committee and was the Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year in 1986 and a finalist in 1999.

     Pat Harvey Palmer epitomizes the heart of Beaufort through her many years of business and community involvement. She makes our world better and brighter everyday with her tireless work and ‘can do’ attitude. Beaufort is blessed to call her our own!

Story by Julie Hales     Photos by Paul Nurnberg

Karen Carroll, Vice President for Patient Care Services, as well as the Chief Nursing Officer for Beaufort Memorial Hospital, is one busy woman. She is responsible for all inpatient nursing areas, surgical services, emergency services, the Wound Care Center, the Ambulatory Surgery Center and the Department of Education. Mrs. Carroll has also been involved with the development and implementation of a number of programs at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, including the Clinical Ladder Program, the Preceptor Program, the centralized staffing program and participative management (Shared Governance), and has also been responsible for the development of the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit, the Wound Care Center and the Women’s Imaging Center.

     Most recently, Mrs. Carroll has worked with the nursing staff to make Beaufort Memorial Hospital the very first Pathway to Excellence designated hospital in South Carolina.  The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Pathway to Excellence Program is a credential to recognize healthcare facilities that have created positive work environments where nurses can flourish. Pathway-designated organizations are deemed the best places to work for nurses with high nurse satisfaction and retention.

     In order to earn Pathway designation, a healthcare organization must demonstrate that it has integrated 6 practice standards into its operating policies, procedures, and management structure.  These standards focus on the workplace, a balanced lifestyle for nurses, and policies that support nurses on the job. Organizations benefit from the application process in which they collect the data and evidence to support the 6 standards and validate their integration through an online nurse survey.  This designation confirms to the Beaufort community that their healthcare organization is committed to nurses, recognizes what is important to nursing practice, and values nurses’ contributions in the workplace.  Nurses know that their efforts are supported by Beaufort Memorial Hospital, and they will in turn, invite other nurses to join them in this desirable and nurturing environment. Research has shown that a healthy work environment improves not only nurse satisfaction, but also patient satisfaction, as well as quality of care.

     The passion she has for the nursing field began with her mother, who began her own nursing career when Karen was 6 years old. Carroll’s mother, Yvonne Manuel retired in 2014 after serving patients at Beaufort Memorial Hospital for 41 years. She now uses her nursing talent administering influenza vaccinations during the flu season.

     “I was always impressed with my mother’s professionalism and dedication to nursing. She always kept the needs of the patients as a priority in her work. I always saw nursing as an excellent career option and as a great place to combine knowledge and caring. She definitely was an early role model for me in the profession,” Karen shares.

     Karen started her nursing education in the associates program at Armstrong State College in Savannah. She went on to receive her bachelor’s and master degrees from the Medical University of South Carolina and her Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

     Married for 35 years, Karen’s husband Lowell Carroll is retired from the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Air Force Reserve. He currently works for the federal court system.

     The passion Karen has for health care has trickled down to her children. Her oldest daughter, Stephanie, is a pharmacist at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. She and her husband have two sons, Carter and Gibson.

     Younger daughter, Lauren, like her mother, had a desire to help people. She became an emergency room department nurse.  She combined her desire to help others and her love of traveling, and is currently doing travel assignments.

     This year marks Karen’s 38th year at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. She is very passionate about the area and its people. “I often think of Beaufort Memorial as the heart of the community.  Healthcare is vital to a thriving community, and over the decades Beaufort Memorial has continued to grow and change and increase healthcare services that keep up with the population demands,” she states. “In my 38 years here, I have seen the hospital change from a general services hospital to a comprehensive healthcare provider. Services have expanded in many areas including cardiac care, cancer care and orthopedic services. The residents of Beaufort and the surrounding counties benefit from these services.”

     Karen Carroll began her nursing career at Beaufort Memorial Hospital as a Med Surg nurse.  She stayed in that role for about a year and half before transferring to critical care.  “I was a charge nurse on the Med Surg unit and ultimately after transferring to critical care also became a charge nurse there. In 1984, I became the director of critical care. I took a break from the position for about a year and a half between 1986 and 1987 and then became the critical care director again in 1988.  I held that position until July 2000 when I was offered the position of Chief Nursing Officer,” she adds.

     When asked if a role in leadership has always been a part of the vision she has seen for herself, Mrs. Carroll states, “Leadership was not in my original plan; however, I held leadership positions during my education and early work roles. I think I had natural tendencies toward leadership.” It certainly seems that way. Under her leadership, she has seen many changes and lots of growth at Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

     Karen Carroll’s accomplishments at Beaufort Memorial Hospital are quite impressive. She never gets complacent. There is always more to learn, always more to accomplish…and, always more to teach. And, the Beaufort community is sure to continue to benefit from her leadership.

Story By: Mary Ellen Thompson

Photos By: John Wollwerth

John Potter appears to be a very down to earth guy – affable, businessman, family man, dedicated, excellent skill sets, Chief Executive Officer, Board of Directors, all those concrete things; and he is. Yet, his cerulean blue eyes give him away at first glance – his primary element is water. John has won more awards and trophies for sailing than Neptune could tuck under the seas, and he does it with the help of his wife, Cheryl, and daughters Megan and Emily who are both instructors, love sailing, and have inherited his passion for racing.

John had a total of eight National and North American championship wins in the past year or so, and these are just a sampling:

J 105:

Overall Winner of BYSC Santa Elena Regatta – April 2016 – Beaufort SC


North American Champion – 2016 VX ONE North Americans – September 2016 – Holland, MI

VX ONE Winter Series – February 2017  – Sarasota FL

Charleston Race Week – May 2017  – Charleston SC

Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club (BYSC): The A. Mills Kinghorn Sailing Award for sailing excellence in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001,2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016.

The first sailboat John remembers was his parents’ Holiday 24, but his first boat was given to him when he was eight by his dad, who was going to Viet-Nam. That was an eight foot Optimus Pram and he would take it out of Palm Harbor, FL and into the Gulf of Mexico “to go sailing and fishing every day.”

After graduating from high school in Fairfax County, VA, John experienced a few years of a close to an idyllic balance of work/play. “I put boats together in Newport, RI in the summer, Annapolis, MD in the spring and fall, and Ft. Lauderdale, FL in the winter. We would wait for the boats to come in on ships, and when they arrived we would assemble them; in between we would windsurf.”

The longest distance he has ever sailed was when he was 22, and at the suggestion of his father, went to Singapore to help bring a Formosa 51 back to the US. John took a correspondence course in celestial navigation and as part of the crew, accompanied the two owners and one of their wives on the journey. It turned out to be quite an adventure. Before they could leave Singapore, John was sent to Jakarta to get the necessary permit which needed three signatures for sailing in those waters, but he could only obtain two. Unbeknownst to John ahead of time, as it turned out the boat owners were being deported and there was a deadline on when they had to leave port, so off they went hoping the paperwork wouldn’t be necessary. The first leg of the journey took them to Cocos Keeling Island, which is a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean. But on the way there, on the third or fourth night out, they passed by Krakatoa, an active volcano in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, which was erupting as they passed by. John remembers how beautiful the two week layover on Cocos Keeling was. From there, the next leg of the journey took them to Reunion Island, a French island, between Madagascar and Maritius for another two week stop over. Between Durban and Cape Town, South Africa they hit what John says was the worst storm he’s ever experienced with three and a half days of wind sustained at 80 knots. In Capetown, John got off the boat having had enough of the owners and the provisions which, he makes a face as he remembers, “were cans of minestrone soup and communist Chinese chicken curry with feathers and bones.” He got on another boat and went as far as Barbados before flying home.

After that trip, “I ended up on the west coast of Florida. I lived in New Port Richey, went to school part time at St. Petersburg Jr. College, and dealt in Windsurfer brand sailboards in addition to whatever work I could find on bigger boats for some of the dealers in the Clearwater area. I spent a fair number of long weekends in Ft. Lauderdale where my parents still maintained an office selling Tayana brand yachts out of Taiwan.” In between times, he taught windsurfing which is a sport he still loves. “I just got another wind surfer and I’m going to teach my daughters.”

Opportunity took John to Annapolis where he started his own company, Ocean Outfitters.  Unfortunately, John explains, “Ocean Outfitters got caught up in the ‘Luxury Tax’ debacle in the late 80’s. This was where the Federal Government imposed a 10% tax on yachts and associated equipment costing more than $100,000. This new tax decimated businesses like mine.”

After a foray into the building business in Virginia, John and Cheryl considered moving to Charleston to get into the building business there.

That, however, didn’t happen; the Potters came to Beaufort instead where they have been for 25 years. “Larry Naylor talked me into coming here to help run a propane and ice business. Larry spent most of his working career in the ice business. Triangle Ice used to be a collection of manufacturing plants throughout the Carolinas. Jake Hickman was the common thread through all of these plants and had partners in most of them. Larry became one of these partners sometime in the mid 80’s and was involved with a plant in Spartanburg as well as the one here in Beaufort. They purchased the plant in Savannah a year or two before I got here. All of the Triangle Plants, except for ours, were purchased by Reddy Ice around 2005. My brother in-law, Rob Neall, and I bought out Larry in 2007. We purchased the ice plants in Hampton and Walterboro from Cummings Oil Company three years ago. We have since gutted and automated both plants. One of our vendor’s helped with the design and sold us the equipment and we did the entire installation in house.” How are his mechanical skills with all that machinery? “I can build or fix anything after being involved in the boat building business.”

When asked what fascinates him about the ice business, John replied, “The ice business represents my only foray into actually manufacturing a product. I hate wasted motion and this is the only thing I have ever done (other than sailboat racing) where I have absolute control over the process.” One might find it interesting that for a man who spent much of his life on the water, he came to be in the business of water.

Even with his love of racing, it took the Potters five years to join the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club. “I quit racing dinghys in 1976. I still did a lot of sailing that was associated with my profession as well as a fair amount of windsurfing. I got my Captain’s license in the early 80’s and did a lot of deliveries up and down the east coast as well as the islands.  But Al Hefner got me out on a Force 5 and I won two races in the Water Festival Regatta. On my second day of racing, Guy McSweeney sailed by me and asked, ‘Who the hell are you anyway?’ We joined the club where I have been Commodore three times and am currently Chairman of the Board.

“I do a lot of racing, I want to do a lot of it as long as I can. When I stop winning, I’ll quit.”

What is the one thing he loves most about sailing? “Tough question. Let me start by saying that I really don’t care much for relaxing and, by extension, really don’t care much for sailing. I am more than just a little competitive. I love racing sailboats. It is one of the most challenging sports on the planet to become good at. It is what I do best. I am not able to focus fully on anything except racing.

“The VX One has become my primary boat. I will sail just about anything.” The list also includes a Laser, MC, JY15, Melges 20, Sonar, and J105. “I have too many boats – I had eleven but I’m down to six now. However, seven of us are buying a 12’ Waszp, which is an offshoot of a foiling moth, and will travel at 30 knots. The hull is lifted above the surface by the foils so there is very little drag.  You’re going faster than the wind so you actually create wind. I haven’t sailed a foiling boat yet.”

The greatest lesson he’s ever learned sailing, John says is, “Whatever environment you are in, don’t fight it. Learn to make it work for you.”

Clearly a man who makes the most of his time and energy, John is also interested in promoting sailing by supporting programs that teach people to sail, how to get around a race course, for both juniors and adults. He says the best advice he has for up and coming sailors is: “Win the start and build your lead. Don’t make enemies on the race course. Don’t talk trash and fly below the radar. There are more but those pretty well cover it.” Considering his expertise, it is advice to take to heart. And keep your eyes on the river for John sailing that Waszp that will look like it’s flying.


Catholic HEART (Helping Everyone Attain Repairs Today) Workcamp is about SERVICE, CONNECTION and LOVING OTHERS. It all started in 1993 in Orlando, FL with 100 participants and has grown to over 13,000 serving in 2016. CHWC provides parish youth groups, teens and adult leaders service opportunities to restore homes and HEARTS, feed the hungry, lift the spirits of children, bring joy to the elderly and disabled and offer assistance while partnering with social agencies. Their aim is to provide nothing short of amazing Catholic Mission Trips! Each Workcamp is equipped with a summer staff, director, manager, musician, nurse and priests to celebrate mass/confession. It is a youth friendly Christ centered Week of caring for others. Catholic HEART Workcamp faithfully and enthusiastically serves the Roman Catholic Church and its teachings and is an excellent opportunity to “love the least of these”.

United Way of the Lowcountry is proud to have coordinated the 18th Annual Catholic Heart Work Camp.  More than 350 students from across the nation visited the Lowcountry to lend their time and talents to help make life better for elderly, disabled, and families in need throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties.

The students arrived on Sunday, June 18 and worked through Thursday, June 22.  Friday was a free day for the students, allowing them the opportunity to enjoy the amenities of the Lowcountry, including beach visits, touring, and other activities.

Coming from all over the country, these student volunteers started their work day around 8am and ended each work day around 3pm.  These students, along with 100 plus adult leaders and several local volunteers worked together on at least 55 projects throughout the community, with the work ranging from yard work and minor repairs to installing handicap ramps.

“These young people make a big impact in just a few short days by doing simple home repairs including painting, yard work, cleaning, repairing screens, and anything else that is difficult for an elderly or handicapped person to accomplish.  With the impacts of Hurricane Matthew, there is a big need for these types of services and we’re excited to have this wonderful group of kids in our community to help us meet the needs of our neighbors,” said Bethany Marcinkowski, United Way of the Lowcountry’s Vice President of Education Impact.

Several local volunteers with skill and building experience handled the larger, more complicated repair jobs at various sites.  Hilton Head Glidden donated all the paint, as they have every year since the first group of HEART work campers arrived in 1999.

“This program’s mission is to revitalize communities and beautify homes of the elderly, the disabled, and those who cannot afford needed repairs,” said Marcinkowski.  “This falls right in line with United Way of the Lowcountry’s Community Impact agenda, which includes working to meet the basic needs of our neighbors by transforming substandard homes in to safe living conditions.”

The United Way of the Lowcountry’s mission is to mobilize resources to solve human problems.  Their vision is to be the leading force for social change to improve basic needs, education, health, and financial stability outcomes for the citizens of Beaufort and Jasper Counties.

Story By: Cindy Reid

Photos By: Susan DeLoach

Friends, Families and Traditions

Meet Jason Berry, Commodore of the 62nd Annual Beaufort Water Festival. Yes it’s that time of year already, time for the biggest and best water festival on the southern coast. After 62 years, the Water festival has gone through many changes and, as always, this year promises to be bigger and better than ever! The Henry C. Chambers downtown waterfront park hosts the Water Festival from July 14 through 23. The Opening Ceremony takes place Friday July 14 with music provided by the Parris Island Marine Band and there will be fireworks at dusk. The event is free of charge, in fact many of the events are free and enjoyable for all ages. And, in a break from tradition, this year there is no charge for the Tuesday night concert!

There are many sporting events that take place from now, up to and during the Water Festival. You can check the website for further information on those events and to stay updated throughout the week of nonstop fun.

Beaufort Lifestyle recently caught up with Commodore Berry and got the “inside scoop” on this year’s Water Festival.

Traditions play an important role in the events but the Water Festival stays current by adding new and exciting events from time to time. What is new or different at this year’s Annual Beaufort Water Festival (BWF)?   

We are always trying to improve what we do every year, and this year I think we have done a great job of making some great changes.  We will be bringing back the ski show on the first Saturday, a longtime favorite for all.  The air show will be bigger and better this year.  Tuesday night has changed and will be an honor to all of our heroes, locally and abroad.  It will be called “Hometown Tuesday” and is now free to all with local band “Bootless” playing.  The big change is Thursday for “Low Country Supper” night.  We will have our traditional supper served with the “Whistlers” performing.  Then we will have nothing but local bands.  Opening act will be Eric Daubert, Broke Locals as the main entertainment and then our big announcement; we are bringing Candace Glover in for a special guest performance.
One of the Commodore’s many tasks is to design the popular annual tee shirt. Tell us about this year’s tee shirt design.   

This year’s t-shirt is special to me, just as sure as I am all others have been to past Commodore’s.  What makes it so special to me is that this year’s t-shirt was designed by my daughter-in-law, Devon Berry.  She and I had many discussions and then put our ideas down to canvas.  I believe it captures what everyone appreciates when they come to the water front park. The view, scenery and the memories we all share. We couldn’t believe the overwhelming positive response we have gotten from the public.

How long have you been involved with the BWF?

14 years.


How did you first get involved?

I transferred to Beaufort in January 2000 as a Navy Hospital Corpsman Chief.  I have always been very involved with volunteering in the local community wherever I went. So, when I arrived at the Naval Hospital and asked around what was important to the community that I could volunteer for, I was told about many opportunities.  However, it just so happened that the command Master Chief of the naval hospital at the time was Bob Bible, 2011 Commodore, and he made a very convincing suggestion that I could do great things for the Water Festival.


Why did you continue as a volunteer with the BWF?

There are many reasons why I chose to continue to volunteer with the Festival, but the one that makes me most proud, is the fellowship of this organization and how it strives to improve the community.  It’s like when I became a Chief in the Navy.  It is very hard to explain what brings folks together to put on such a large undertaking every year, but the bonds that are made with the volunteers, the community and the sponsors are why I continue every year.


What is your BWF favorite memory? 

Wow, this is such a hard question but overall it’s when I walk through that crowd during opening ceremonies every year.  I feel so much appreciation from the crowd that is there to enjoy this event every year. Just to see everyone coming together smiling, laughing, dancing and enjoying themselves is the most memorable and fulfilling experience. I personally feel such a sense of pride being a part of it every year.


What is your favorite event?

The Opening Ceremonies.


What entertainment do you have lined up for this year?

This year has several changes and a couple of big names that I am sure will be exciting for everyone. Concert in the Park is always our big event for the week, and this year we have lined up national recording artist Aaron Lewis, along with opening act Jordan Rager. Also appearing, local band Steel Rail Express. Monday night wouldn’t be Motown Monday without Deas Guyz, and this year Hometown Tuesday night will be FREE, featuring local band Bootless. Wednesday night is our traditional talent show featuring local acts.

Thursday, Low Country Supper night, I am sure will be a favorite this year. We will have our traditional “Whistlers” performing. Then opening act will be Eric Daubert and Broke Locals as the main entertainment and then our big announcement, we are bringing      Candace Glover in for a special guest performance.  Friday night, we are bringing back “The Band Punch,” if you missed them last year during Commodore’s Ball you don’t want to miss them this year. Keeping with tradition, Saturday night will be Commodore’s Ball featuring The New Royals.


Tell our readers something they may not know about the BWF

It has been voted and recognized as one of the best top ten festivals in the Southeast United States and is the longest running 62 consecutive year all-volunteer festival in South Carolina.


Where were you born and raised?

I was born in San Antonio Texas, and raised in a small town named Boerne, much like Beaufort.


How did you come to live in Beaufort?

I transferred in the Navy from Afghanistan.  After a few years, Beaufort became the town I chose to retire in after serving for 22 years.


Anything else you would like to add?

I would just like to recognize the many volunteers that come out and put in their time to help this organization continue.  Even if you are a first-time volunteer, coming out just for a couple of hours, you are GREATLY APPRECIATED, every job is important.  After all, that’s where I started out at first, and look at me now.  Also, I would like to give another special thanks to all the sponsors.  We couldn’t have the opportunity to volunteer without the support of all the local businesses that sponsor.  Thank you all and I wish everyone a very Happy 62nd Water Festival. It will be the best Water Festival yet!

Story By: Cindy Reid

Photos By: Susan DeLoach

This year’s 62nd annual Beaufort Water Festival tee shirt is a gorgeous sunset scene, looking from the waterfront park out to the Beaufort River. It’s a scene of shrimp boats and pleasure boats, blue skies and orange sunset. Bold yet tranquil, it speaks to anyone who has ever spent an evening watching the sunset at the river. This year’s motto, “Families, Friends & Traditions” is cleverly splashed in deep blue on the side of the graphic, alongside the Beaufort Water Festival logo and festival dates.

Devon Berry, the tee shirt designer, has a very personal connection to the Water Festival. In addition to being the daughter in law of this year’s Commodore, she says “I have beautiful twin girls and an amazing husband that are featured in the silhouettes on the back of the shirt design. Our girls were born opening day of the festival 3 years ago!”

Devon says, “I studied visual arts at the North Carolina School of Arts and I’ve always been interested in creating artwork in many mediums. I’m looking forward to seeing my first “wearable” artwork around town this summer. “And see it she will, as the tee shirts are always a big seller and many people collect the shirts from year to year. Devon says, “I wanted this year’s shirt to have a bold and graphic design that would appeal to everyone. Of course the setting is in the downtown waterfront park where our amazing festival takes place.”

She continues, “To me, the best part of the Water Festival is getting together with family and friends to make some memories and to have a great time. “ she says, “We all meet up along the water’s edge and wait for those magical opening night fireworks to kick it all off.”

Magic is the stuff Water Festivals are made of and this year’s tee shirt is magical too!

Friday, July 14

Festival Arts & Crafts Market 

Location: Promenade at Waterfront Park

Event Details: Noon – 7pm


Sponsored by The Preserve at Port Royal

Entertainment: The Parris Island Marine Band & Fireworks at Dusk

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | Gates open at 6pm, Ceremony at 7pm | FREE Shuttle Service from the Beaufort County Government Center

Saturday, July 15

Raft Race

Sponsored by CPM Federal Credit Union

Location: Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: 8:30am – Noon

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 9am – 7pm

Bocce Tournament

Sponsored by JoCo Construction / Sea Island Elevators

Location: Waterfront Park Main Field

Event Details: Play starts at 9am

Badminton Tournament

Sponsored by A.C. Harvey’s Screen Printing

Location: Waterfront Park Stage Field

Event Details: Play starts at 9am

Children’s Toad Fishing Tournament

Sponsored by Plair Enterprises, Inc.

Location: Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 10am – Noon | Ages 12 and under only | Bring your own rod, reel and tackle | Bait provided

Sponsor’s Expo

Location: Waterfront Park Pavilion

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 10am – 2pm

Shrimp Boat Tours

Sponsored by Sea Eagle Market

Location: Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: FREE EVENT | Noon – 4pm

Ski Show

Sponsored by Sports Clips

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 1pm & 3:30pm


Sponsored by New Country Bob 106.9

Headline Entertainment: Aaron Lewis

Opening Entertainment: Jordan Rager

Also Appearing: Steel Rail Express

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $30 | Gates open at 7pm, Show at 7:15pm | No strollers, coolers, outside food or beverages or professional photography | No Refunds | FREE Shuttle service from Beaufort County Government Center | Children age 5 and under FREE

Sunday, July 16

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 9am – 5pm

River Rally

Sponsored by Butler Marine of Charleston

Location: Local Waters

Event Details: 9am – 1pm

Children’s Day

Sponsored by Coastal Orthodontics

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 11am – 3pm | Featuring Games, Activities, Shows, Bounce Houses and Prizes

Shrimp Boat Tours

Sponsored by Sea Eagle Market

Location: Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: FREE EVENT | Noon – 4pm


Sponsored by John 3:16 Project

Entertainment: DJ Donna

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $10 | 6pm – 9pm | Gates open 6pm – 9pm, No entry after 8pm (NO RE-ENTRY ALLOWED) | Ages 13 – 17 only, ID Required | Clutch Purses Only (6” x 9” size) | Please Wear Appropriate Clothing | No refunds, outside food or beverages, or coolers

Monday, July 17

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm


Sponsored by A&R Dock Builders, McElveen Bail Bonding and Lime Lite Salon

Entertainment: Deas Guyz

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $15 | Gates open 7pm, Show at 8pm | No refunds, outside food or beverages, or coolers | FREE Shuttle Service from the Beaufort County Government Center | Children age 5 and under FREE

Tuesday, July 18

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm


Sponsored by Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce

Headline Entertainment: Bootless

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | Gates open 7pm, Show at 8pm | No outside food or beverages, or coolers

Wednesday, July 19

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront

Event Details: 10am – 7pm


Sponsored by McDonald’s

Hosted by: The Preceptor Omega Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $10 or FREE with Official 2017 62nd Annual Water Festival T-Shirt | Gates open at 6pm, Show at 7pm | No refunds, outside food or beverages, or coolers | Children age 5 and under FREE

Thursday, July 20

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm


Sponsored by WastePro USA

Headline Entertainment: Broke Locals

Opening Entertainment: Eric Daubert

Special Guest Performance: Candice Glover

Featuring: The Whistlers

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $15 | Gates open at 6pm | Supper served 6pm – 7:30pm | No refunds, outside food or beverages, or coolers | Children age 5 and under FREE

Friday, July 21

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm

Bed Race

Sponsored by Lohr Plumbing

Location: Corner of Bay & Harrington

Event Details: $25 entry per team | 4:30pm check-in | 5pm start time | Same day registration based on space availability


Sponsored by City Electric Supply

Entertainment: The Band Punch

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $15 | Gates open at 7pm, Show at 8pm | Must be 18 or Older with Valid ID to attend | No refunds, outside food or beverages, coolers or strollers | FREE Shuttle service from Beaufort County Government Center

Saturday, July 22

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 9am – 7pm

Water Festival Grand Parade

Sponsored by Moss, Kuhn & Fleming

Organized by: The Beaufort Lions Club

Location: Downtown Beaufort

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 10am – Noon

Non-Profit Expo

Location: Waterfront Park Pavilion

Event Details: FREE EVENT | Noon – 4pm

Air Show

Sponsored by Executive Flight Training

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 1pm – 4pm | Stunt Planes | US Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demo


Sponsored by Mike’s Marine Repair

Entertainment: The New Royals

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $10 | Gates open at 7pm, Show at 8pm | No refunds, outside food or beverages or coolers | Children age 5 and under FREE

Sunday, July 23

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 9am – 3pm

Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats

Sponsored by The Past Commodores of the Beaufort Water Festival

Location: Beaufort River in front of Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: Noon – 2pm | FREE registration | Boats must register to be eligible for prizes | All applications must be at the judge’s table prior to Noon

Festival Ends – 3:00 pm – 

See you next year!