Beaufort’s 300th Anniversary

The entire Crystal Coast community came out to celebrate Beaufort’s 300th Anniversary, a fun-filled celebration which cemented this coastal community’s reputation as one of the oldest towns in Carteret County, and along the North Carolina coastline.

Mugs, t-shirts and bumper stickers in the souvenir shops of this fishing village proclaim the fisherman’s mantra: “You shoulda been here last week.” Well, that might speak for when the big fish were running, but the truth is you should have been here in September 2009, when Beaufort’s 300th Anniversary celebration was in full swing.

Organizers of the big main event of the year-long celebration banked on assistance from numerous public funding sources, all of which dried up and vanished during the economic recession. Still, they persisted in putting on the party and chronicling it for posterity. Beaufort’s private citizens stepped up to the plate.

A videotape was made by Time Warner Carolina 10 of the Beaufort Homecoming Parade, its lavishly decorated floats representing historic Beaufort families. Oral history accounts of almost 100 residents were taped by Story Corps and made available at the public library. The Ward-Hancock (Customs) House was purchased and moved.

The North Carolina Maritime Museum hosted a boat-building demonstration, an author reading, and retrospectives from Beaufort’s long-time leading luminaries. Ann Street Methodist Church hosted “Menhaden Memories” and a Concert by Chanteyman. A Fishtowne Flotilla was mustered, comprised of mainly commercial fishing vessels, and one whopping big birthday cake marked the occasion.

The local fishermen stretch out their arms as far as they’ll go and swear it was “that big.” The Beaufort Historical Association celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010.

All-in-all, Beaufort’s 300th Anniversary was a state-wide celebration that was viewed and enjoyed by folks across North Carolina. In fact, many people believe that the publicity that surrounded Beaufort’s 300th Anniversary helped the town earn it’s new reputation as one of the best Small Towns in the United States.