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Published on Jun 20,2023 By Verb

Fall is just down the road in the South Carolina’s Lowcountry, which means festival season is here in Bluffton, the charming historic village nestled on the banks of the May River. For over two hundred years, life in Bluffton has reflected the rhythm of the river and the waterways, and its whimsical and eccentric nature has endeared it to artists, artisans, musicians and writers. One of the original homes of the coastal Gullah people, today Bluffton is an engaging mix of old and new, combining an appreciation of its heritage and culture with a vibrant arts scene.  

The highlight of the autumn season is the Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival, which runs from October 12th  to 20th and celebrates fresh-from-the-water seafood and the talent of the local arts community.

The festival gets underway on Saturday, October 12th with the ever-popular Daufuskie Island History and Artisans Excursion, a fascinating trip back in time through Lowcountry history and native Gullah heritage that allows visitors to tour the island’s many one-of-a-kind buildings and outdoor sights. Sunday features The Friends of Bluffton 8th Annual Invitational Local Artist Showcase on Calhoun Street in Old Town Bluffton, and the boat parade and Blessing of the Fleet on the river. After the sun goes down, the music and seafood heats up with the season’s first oyster roast, shrimp boil & BBQ at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park. Oyster knives and cocktail sauce are provided—just bring your lawn chair. 


A Monday night tour at the Waddell Mariculture Center offers insight into the importance of this research facility and brings a buffet feast of Gumbo 2 Ways (chicken and seafood), Caesar salad, cornbread, and more at Toomers Bluffton Seafood Restaurant. Book lovers won’t want to miss Wednesday’s event. October 16 is Author Night, with an evening of food, drink, and creativity dedicated to the art, stories, and works of local Lowcountry authors.

On Saturday and Sunday, The Arts & Seafood Street Fest located on Calhoun Street in the historic district includes a juried art show, live music, and Bluffton seafood – shrimp, oysters, scallops, blue crabs – and barbecue for the “landlubbers”. Children have their very own art show, Art in the Park, and even a fishing tournament and magic show. Street dances, a 10K road race, a 5k family road race, and Red Apron Sips and Seafood Party complete with craft cocktails and auctions round out the weekend festivities. Rockin’ the Dock on Saturday night, October 19, at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park is a rousing good time with great music from local bands, a seafood tasting extravaganza and a fireworks grand finale.


Throughout the festival schedule, history and wildlife tours of the May River are available Monday through Saturday, as well as kayak and paddleboard tours. For more information on schedules and pricing, please visit


Beer lovers should also look forward to the autumn festival season in Bluffton. The Bluffton International & Craft Beer Fest on Saturday, October 26, features specialty brews at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park. Known as the “The Best Little Beer Fest in the USA,” it includes over 100 unique beers from more than 40 breweries in the US and around the world. Of course, we also have something for music lovers. Jazz enthusiasts will enjoy Bob Masteller’s Jazz for All Ages Jazz Festival at the Sonesta Resort & Spa. Running for two days starting October 30th, this sixth annual festival is a fantastic way to support The Junior Jazz Foundation.

The vibrant Palmetto Bluff community, located a few miles down May River Road from Old Town Bluffton, welcomes guests to its 13th Helping of Music to Your Mouth Festival from November 18 to 24. The event features a four-day music, food, and wine celebration, highlighting renowned chefs and favorite musicians. Always a sold out event, this is a highlight of the Southern fall festival season.

Photo Credit: Palmetto Bluff
Photo Credit: Palmetto Bluff

Bluffton, the heart of the Lowcountry, invites you to enjoy its many charms – the food, the arts, the heritage and the people who call it home… Linger a little longer for a memorable experience of legendary Southern hospitality at its finest.

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