Arts, Seafood Festival, a testimony of the city, volunteers

What an amazing week the town of Bluffton has had: another successful arts and seafood festival is in the books, with a grand finale today.

For those of you new to the area, here’s a bit about how this festival came to be. What began as a one-day event in 2005 and expanded into a weekend-long celebration in 2006 has been, since 2007, a week-long celebration showcasing the “Gems of Bluffton”: the natural beauty of this river community; its rich history; the pristine quality of the May River; the wealth of local waterways; and the cultural and artistic aspect of the community itself. It is billed as and truly is the celebration “where fine art and the bounty of the sea come together”.

One of the founders, Dan Wood, recently said, “As Bluffton continues to grow, it is paramount that we continue to introduce our citizens, old and new, to these precious gems of Bluffton. Festivals are like magnets; they attract young and old, rich and poor, locals and transplants, all to celebrate their community.”

When you walk the streets, attend the many daily events or follow the website (, you instantly think there must be hundreds of helpers and planners. There are a lot of volunteers, but if you look deep enough you will see who lives, eats and breathes this festival.

Of course there is the founder, Wood, as well as Larry and Tina Toomer, the Bluffton Rotary Club and many others. But there’s one person, phone in hand, running from place to place and making sure we’re all in the right place at the right time, and that’s Mary O’Neill.

She was honored in a recent Christmas parade as Grand Marshal, but since that time we have seen a large group of new residents in our area, so I think there is a need to continue to push this message. If you see any of the above, but especially Mary, please take a minute and thank them for all they do to put smiles on our faces, seafood in our stomachs, and lessons in environmental story in our minds.

Without this group of volunteers, this festival cannot take place, and I know you all agree, it is a “must-have” every year, as we celebrate the end of summer and look forward with looking forward to fall weather, oyster roasts and the holiday season.

If you have any questions about our wonderful town, please don’t hesitate to contact Town Hall at 706-4500 or email Lisa Sulka at [email protected]

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