Sep 21 2011

Shrimp Fest 2011

Over the weekend some of Edisto’s smallest residents were present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the town’s Bay Creek Park. Unfortunately, those residents were eaten.

The Edisto Shrimp Fest kicked off at 11 on Saturday at Bay Creek Park. This event marked the grand opening of the park (which has been around and used for more than a year already) next to the marina. From 11 to 5, residents and vacationers alike came out and enjoyed some Lowcountry boil and hot dogs. In addition, the band Fat Alice played.

Here’s a look back at how the park came about.

It wasn’t long ago that the area used for the park was occupied by the seafood market known as Bell Buoy’s. This ramshackle market with its sun-worn wooden look was a landmark on Edisto. It was owned by the Bell family and had some of the best fresh seafood caught right off the shore. Mrs. Bell used to make casseroles and desserts that were so legendarily good that they were often purchased a long side of a couple pounds of shrimp and snow crab.

For the lucky few who knew about it, there was also a jewelry store on the top floor of the market. Visitors could schedule an appointment to go upstairs and see what treasures Mrs. Bell had to offer.

It was a tradition for many families to make a stop at Bell Buoy’s every time they came to the island and the scenic seafood shack provided a great backdrop for countless photo ops.

But about five years ago, the family sold the property to the city. The house and market on the land was torn down and there was nothing on the property for a long time. A lot of drama ensued with some locals being upset over the fact that the city paid millions for the land and subsequent park. But after a while, the drama blew over and the park was finished and ready for business.

Now, it’s hard to even remember the old fish market that used to be on the land. The park offers wide open spaces, a dock for visitors to look out over Big Bay Creek or drop a line in to catch some fish and crab, and there is a structure where vendors can come every Wednesday to sell arts, crafts, and foods indigenous to the lowcountry.

While there are generations of Edisto-lovers who will always remember the area as being the former site of Bell Buoy’s, the park provides a new generation of locals and visitors with a place to go and begin their own traditions.

Did you participate in Shrimp Fest? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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