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Beaufort Water Festival volunteers had no problem making sure the 1,500 pounds of shrimp in this year's annual Lowcountry Supper found a home in the hungry stomachs of attendees.
With enough food to feed about 3,500 people, organizers began the supper at 6 p.m. They began slowing the entrance line just after 7 p.m., letting in only a few at a time, as they evaluated how many more people they could feed.
Volunteers stopped serving at about 7:15 p.m. to the dismay of some ticket holders who had been waiting in line.
"We bought our tickets this morning, and it said on the website they'd be serving until 7:30 p.m.," Jennica Vance, 23, of the Beaufort area said. "You get here at 7 p.m. and they're out of food. ... It's our first year here so we're kind of disappointed."
The festival offered those customers who were in line but did not get in a refund for tickets already purchased, marketing and public relations coordinator Brandy Gray said.
The 1,500 pounds of shrimp was only one part of the traditional Lowcountry Supper. It also included 3,500 ears of corn, more than 1,100 pounds of sausage, 250 ounces of seafood seasoning, 500 pounds of cole slaw, 300 gallons of ice tea and lemonade, 3,500 rolls and 50 watermelons, Gray said.
Wyman Haigler, 71, of the Beaufort Rotary Club was among many volunteers dishing up plates of food.
Despite not getting a chance to taste the shrimp before it ran out, Haigler said he had a blast "just seeing the expressions and joy on the faces of people I served."
To Haigler, the crowd appeared "unexpectedly large."
"In hard times with this economy, it's good to see people coming out for this," her said. "This is the Beaufort Water Festival for the people, and they deserve it."
Entertainment for the night included performances by the band The Broke Locals.
As is tradition, the festival's past four commodores donned costumes and performed a skit as The World Famous Whistlers. Finishing the evening was the Beatles tribute band The Return.
A man dressed as Forrest Gump created his own small show inside the festival gates as crowds gathered around him, doting on his mastery of the character's mannerisms. Dressed in a blue and white checkered, button up shirt, khakis, classic Nike sneakers, a red ball cap and holding a suitcase, the Gump impersonator stayed in character the whole night. When asked for his real name, he would only respond with "Forrest."
The Lowcountry Supper night belongs to the Beaufort community, Mayor Billy Keyserling said.
"I think this is probably the most eclectic, diverse gathering representative of what's so good about a community," Keyserling said. "You have young and old, people who've been here just two years and others who've been here 70 years, and everyone feels like it's their event."