Entertainment Highlights

Admiral of The Fleet: LINDA TOOMER

In 1967, a young woman married and became not just a wife, but a shrimper’s wife. Not many can fathom what that entails. Waking before dawn to see your fisherman off and then keeping the house quiet before it’s even dark out so he can get some sleep, to do it all again the next day. If he’s traveling the coast, she will miss him dearly for days or weeks. No one will ever understand the worry she will feel while he is at sea. She will maintain the Homefront and raise the children while he is doing what he loves. She will pray for his safety and anxiously wait to hear about a good drag. She never knows when the next paycheck is coming or if the boat will need repairs, or if mother nature will cooperate. She can’t control low shrimp prices, high fuel prices or a good or bad season. But she can be an anchor. She can be the person that holds her fisherman and her family firmly and securely in place. And that is what Linda Toomer is, she is our anchor. 
Linda moved to the Low Country in 1973 with her husband Frankie Toomer Jr.. Linda remembers spending many a weekends on the back deck of her husbands boats, picking up shrimp while maintaining a full time job to support the family through the hard times that accompany the shrimping industry. When times were really tough she recalls taking a leave of absence from work and going to the Gulf with her husband and working as a crew member of the F/V Rip Tide, a boat owned by the late Benny Hudson. Linda has had a first hand account of the demise of the fishing industry. She remembers a time when our area had fifty to sixty shrimp boats gracing its waters. Now there are only a handful, all of which belong to her family. Her brother-in-law Larry Toomer owns the F/V Daddy’s Girls which has become a Bluffton icon. Her oldest son Jeff owns the F/V Reilly Morgan and F/V Jeffrey Logan. His son Logan is following family tradition and is now the captain of the Reilly Morgan. Her middle son, Kemp, owns the F/V Just Right out of Tybee Island. Linda’s third son followed after his father and big brothers and is the owner and captain of the F/V Jesus Lives. His son, Camden, is also following in the family’s footsteps and learning the ways of being a shrimper. 
Linda has always put what matters most first, her family. She has remained steadfast while being a shrimper’s wife and raising her sons. Despite the numerous challenges the shrimping industries has, Linda has been unbendable. She has provided security and hope through uncertain times and has been a devoted wife and mother to her fishermen. We honor Linda Toomer during this year’s blessing of the fleet as an anchor in this dying industry.

Lavon Stevens

October 15, 2023

4:00 pm, during Blessing of the Fleet and Boat Parade

Lavon Stevens is known for his soulful jazz, contemporary and blues music. A native of Savannah, Ga. Lavon began singing and playing piano at the age of 7. He began performing in local groups across the Southeast at the age of thirteen. His first instrument was the violin. He later studied voice and piano at Dekalb College in Atlanta, Ga. from 1979 to 1983.
He has traveled and performed all over the country including Aspen, Co., Atlanta, Ga. and Orlando, Fla. The resort vacation destination of Hilton Head Island, SC has been his home since 1981. He is one of the premier entertainers in Hilton Head Island, SC. Lavon is affiliated with BMI as a Publisher/Songwriter.

He serves on the board as a member of The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and is one of the music producers for The Native Island Gullah Festival. He is very active with The Junior Jazz Foundation at The Jazz Corner and he is also a member of the Circle of Songs organization. His CD “I See Love” was released in 1996 and features all original compositions. He is producing a variety of shows and recording projects including other R&B, Jazz, and Gospel artists.

This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a leisurely picnic lunch on the bluff of the May River and be entertained by the music and boat parade. What better way to begin our festival! 

Join us Sunday at 4:00 PM at Wright Family Park for a memorable time.

Author Night

5:30 pm hors d’oeuvres, 6:00 pm showtime Rotary Community Center at Oscar Frazier Park 11 Recreation Court Bluffton SC 29910

“Cherishing Bluffton’s Past” through a panel of local historians sharing stories and history of Bluffton through the decades.
Join us as we host a panel discussion discussing what makes Bluffton special, and sharing stories of the innovators and characters that helped Bluffton evolve from a May River hamlet of 500 residents and one restaurant to the boom town of tourist and commerce we are today.

Panelists include:
– former Mayor and native Blufftonian Emmett McCracken
– Award-winning Island Packet columnist David Lauderdale
– Long-time Bluffton Today columnist Annelore Harrell
– Bluffton native and long-time town activist Allyne Mitchell

Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages provided by Southern Spice Catering and Events; Cost: $15.00; additional donations accepted; proceeds to the Waddell Mariculture Center. Reservations required: click below, or call Mary at 843-815-2472 or 843-815-2474.

We are excited to announce that Amiri Farris will be participating in the upcoming Arts and Seafood Festival as the featured artist for 2023. Furthermore, as part of his contribution to the festival experience, Amiri Farris will create an original large-scale painting during the street fest event on Saturday and Sunday. Attached is this year’s poster which will be available for purchase at the festival.

May River boat tour

Monday – Sunday

Every hour on the hour

Join Capt. Chris Shoemaker and his crew at May River Excursions for a one hour guided “Skiff” cruise on the May searching for local wildlife, discussing history and soaking up the tidal estuary air.
$35/person…subject to availability.

Outdoor pops in the park with hilton head symphony orchestra

October 19, 2023

7:30 pm (rain or shine)

Martin Family Park
68 Boundary Street

FREE Symphony Under The Stars Outdoor Pops Concert

Hollywood in the Lowcountry

A tribute to the music of Hollywood, including iconic scores associated with our corner of the world.  Music from classic movies featuring themes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Forrest Gump, and The Prince of Tides, epic action and adventure soundtracks, and sweeping romantic scores create an evening of sonic technicolor.

FREE – lawn seating – bring a blanket or a chair, a picnic dinner and enjoy the HHSO al fresco.

LIMITED table seating $150/per 6 chair table.  Call (843) 815 – 6278 for reservations.


Evolution Band

Red apron Sips & Seafood Prelude Party in the Promenade

Friday October 20, 2023 
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Presented by Bluffton Self Help.

Enjoy the sounds of the Evolution Big Band as they perform in St. Joseph Park. Peruse the shops and enjoy champagne and appetizer samplings along the way. Complete your evening with dinner at one of our fine restaurants in the Promenade. Please bring some canned food for Bluffton Self Help and help fill their van!

Music line-up: Street fest weekend

Main Stage (Martin Park)

October 21, 2023(Sat.)

10:00 – 12:20 pm

12:45 – 2:30 pm

3:00 – 5:00 pm

Julie Gribble

Spike Ivory

Gary Byrd and the Outlaws

October 22, 2023(Sun.) 

11:00 – 1:15 pm

1:45 – 4:00 pm

John Brackett Quartet

Bill Gwynnes Tower of Funk 

Stage Two (Beer Garden on Bridge & Calhoun Streets)

October 21, 2023(Sat.)

10:00 – 12:20 pm

12:45 – 2:30 pm

3:00 – 5:00 pm

Gino Fanelli

Bail Money 

J Edwards

October 22, 2023(Sun.) 

11:00 – 1:15 pm

1:45 – 4:00 pm

Horan Brothers

Domino Theory

Spike ivory band 

Spike Ivory has crafted his unique sound and style by drawing on many influences through the years.  Spike played many of the instruments heard on his debut album and put a very personal stamp on each song. The resulting sound and amazing energy were felt through the live shows as Spike Ivory and his newly formed band began touring.

After the release of The Velvet Chains in 2005, the band toured many intimate sized venues and played more than 225 shows all over the USA, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Canada and Asia! Spike recently signed with the New LowCountry Music Label. His new Single “Rollin’ Thunder” (a tribute to our Troops and Military Vets past and present) has been gaining momentum on many radio stations across the states. Spike is currently scheduled to release an EP featuring Rollin’ Thunder along with 3 other tracks in September, followed by a full length album. 

Julie gribble

We are lucky to have Julie Gribble back again this year. This is a show not to be missed! It just comes naturally for Julie Gribble, writing, singing, and performing.  But what she loves most is to inspire, to reach people with her music.  With her Traditional Americana/Country Music, Gribble has entranced audiences with her modern stories of life, love and relationships.  When you think about the edge of an artist like Lucinda Williams, the melodies of Allison Krauss, and a likeness to Natalie Merchant, you’ll find Julie.  Audiences connect immediately to the unique lyrics because they’re not the same old love clichés. As Craig Ferguson said, on his show about her record, So Typical, “It’s Fantastic!”

Gribble has toured the US and Canada, opened for major label artists, become the face of Hotel Indigo’s Featured Artist and be asked to perform on many national television shows around the country as well as numerous radio spots. With her recent endorsement through Martin Guitars, Julie has been touring supporting her newest release, “Letting Go.” This is followed by her appearance in October, 2010 on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  After wrapping up her supporting role in the upcoming Sony Pictures Film, Quarantine 2, she also was a songwriting teacher and performer on Seth Green’s new web show, ControlTV. Before her recent move to Nashville,TN, she managed to gain a full page interview in Atlanta’s Finest Mag, a finalist in GA Lottery’s All Access Music Competition, and is nominated for a GA Country Music Award.

Rockin’ on the dock fireworks & Party

October 21, 2023

6:00 pm – Dusk

The annual Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival fireworks spectacular will present the best fireworks show in Bluffton at dusk on Saturday evening, with music by The Chiggers. Shot from the May River and viewed riverside at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park on Wharf Street, this will be the grand finale to a day full of festivities, not to be missed!