Paris Avenue in Port Royal was bustling on Saturday afternoon, when thousands of people came out to enjoy the 14th annual Soft Shell Crab Festival. The sky was blue and humidity was nonexistent which was perfect for spending time outdoors. Larger and more action packed than previous years, each and every smiling face seemed to be having a great time dancing, drinking, and eating their hearts out.
Locals and visitors alike were indulged in the sites of the beautiful wetlands and historical charm that Port Royal has to offer, while experiencing food, drink, and fun for the majority of the afternoon.
With a name like the Soft Shell Crab Festival, one can only assume that the food was outstanding. With everything from elephant ears and red velvet funnel cakes, to crabs crabs and more crabs; this festival had it all.
You could soak up the day and savor delicious plates from local spots including Sea Eagle Market and Emily’s Restaurant, just to name a few. Though there was a little something for everyone – most plates were stacked tall with baskets of soft shell crabs; giving the festivals namesake justice. You truly could smell the fresh crab and variety of seafood wafting through the air as you walked around.
Many opted to grab a drink and dance the day away with one of the several local live music acts. The Bull Grapes, Broke Locals and Trey’s Aliens all rocked the crowd, putting smiles on faces and shaking the hips of many unsuspecting bystanders. Kids moved and grooved right along with the music in their special inflated play area.
There were vendors from all over Beaufort and Port Royal supporting multiple different causes and providing both education and unique items for the taking.
For few dollars, you could bet on a crab in the Port Royal Crab Race sponsored by the Rotary Club with all of the proceeds benefiting local charities. In addition to this unique event, many groups around the area set up booths talking about new endeavors, and local concerns; like ways we can help protect our planet. Local conservation groups were among the dozens supporting various causes and concerns in the area.
In addition to our local industries, many resident artists were able to display their unique artwork for purchase. You could find one of a kind glass masterpieces, serene paintings, woodwork, some amazing photography, and even fun clothing that would guarantee you standing out in a crowd.
If antique cars are your thing, then this festival had a little slice of heaven carved especially for you. Dozens of cars in spectacular shape decked the streets at the entrance of the festival; from both the past and present courtesy of the Classic Car & Truck Club of Beaufort. Having all those old cars there really felt like one was stepping through time.
Though the cars, dancing, and vendors were all incredible – we believe the truest highlight of the festival was you.
The local support, pride, and gusto that this town holds is the glue that keeps these events constantly occurring – and the glue that gives the Lowcountry its reputation as one of the friendliest, most beautiful, and miraculously untouched places in the South.
HUGE thanks go out to the folks at Port Royal’s Old Village Association for producing an amazing event for everyone to enjoy.
For tons of fun photos from the 14th Annual Port Royal Soft Shell Crab Festival, visit our Photo Gallery here. Photos by ESPB/Jessica Miller