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A Beaufortonian since 1990, Bob Bible, is excited to mark his 20th anniversary in town by taking over Beaufort's biggest event, the Beaufort Water Festival.
Bible, recently named the commodore of the 2011 festival, takes over for Sheri Little and is already buzzing with energy. He plans to bring new ideas in to make the Water Festival a smashing success next year.
Bible was the program coordinator of this year's festival, giving him ample experience in running the 10-day event.
"The key to success is to select the right crew," Bible said about the role of the commodore. "It takes a team to make this great event, and it is a challenge. The team selections are going on now, and we will start meeting in September.
"If I do that right, Beaufort will have a great festival. Once we put the team together, we develop the festival over several months. We choose our bands, our sporting events and we tweak it as we get closer and closer to the big day."
After the problems with this year's Teen Dance and the fights and disruptions outside the festival gates, Bible already has a new plan to make that night safe and fun for local teens.
"We appreciate the police support that was down there this year and how they kept the teens and volunteers safe," he said. "It occurred outside of our fence, and we are already working with the police for next year. It will change, but it will be safe. We will not close it. The teens are an important part of our community, and they deserve to have their teen dance."
The programs coordinator usually traditionally ascends to the commodore's position the next year, but it's not made official until past commodores approve the promotion.
"No one can tell you that they're going to be commodore in advance before that last Saturday of the (previous) festival," he said. "It is not a guarantee, and I was excited to be given the opportunity."
Bible's love affair with Beaufort began in the early 1990s, when he and his wife Colleen, now Beaufort Water Festival's "first lady," took a stroll down Bay Street.
"It was a place where you could walk downtown and people would know your name," Bible said. "I found my hometown again in Beaufort. I have been here ever since, and not a thing has changed about the inviting people of this town."
Bible has been an involved member of the community, working on the board of the Child Abuse Prevention Association, even dressing up for its annual ghost tours at Halloween. He is also a past president of the Rotary Club of the Lowcountry.
"I've been involved with CAPA for years, and I still try to squeeze in as much time as I can for them as possible no matter how busy I get," Bible said of his work for charity. "As a part of the Rotary Club, I work with the youth exchange program. We send high school students overseas to study abroad, and we bring overseas students here to study in the community. It's a great program for students, and we cover much of the costs so that parents really only have to pay for the plane fare."
When he isn't busy volunteering in the community, Bible works with the local service people in his daily job at Atlantic Marine Corps Communities in Laurel Bay.
"(My company) affords me the opportunity to do all these things the commodore has to do throughout the year," he said. "They really support people volunteering in the community."
Bible is busy working on unique additions to the festival and has a secret up his sleeve for an extra successful Water Festival. "I can't share all my secrets, but we will definitely be involving the tricentennial celebration in the festival."
The next year promises to be busy, not a bad way to spend what Bible refers to as his "retirement."
"This town is all about the community," Bible said. "We as a community are what make the Water Festival so much fun year after year."