BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) - One South Carolina city is gearing up for one of the largest festivals held in October.
In just two weeks, thousands will head to the May River area to shop for local art and eat local seafood.
Bluffton, SC is one of the greatest hidden gems on the East Coast. Tucked away among the winding back rivers and oak trees of coastal South Carolina, the city is packed with great places to fuel your hunger, shop, and live. That's why it's no surprise that the charming city is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing cities in the state.
"It does something to you, and your soul. You come here and you see the diversity of homes and people, and it just makes people say, 'wow, this isn't a big city and this isn't the country, but it's a little bit of both,' and they just kind of fall in love and the next thing you know, they are moving in," said Larry Toomer, Owner, Bluffton Oyster Company.
Some of Bluffton's rapid growth can be attributed to the annual Historic Arts and Seafood Festival which takes place every year in the third week of October.
"The festival has been very instrumental in Bluffton growing for the simple fact that people come here and experience the festival; just the whole small town feel that we have here, and many of them decide that this is where they want to live so they come back, open a business or buy a home. They just really enjoy the fresh seafood we have to offer as well as the river, and just the whole small town feel," Toomer said.
It all began on the May River - as did Bluffton.
"Thirteen years ago, volunteers mostly from Rotary but also Larry Tina Toomer, they had this idea and started the festival. It's all about the culture, the arts of Bluffton, and the history of Bluffton, the seafood of Bluffton. It's all about what Bluffton stands for," said Mary O'Neill, President, Seafood Festival.
Throughout the week, it's expected that approximately 20,000 people will come through the Historic Arts and Seafood Festival, helping grow the beautiful city.