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Although the warm, comfortable weather suggests otherwise, autumn has finally arrived in the Lowcountry. Just look for the golden grasses around the marsh and the migrating butterflies and birds as they start to move south for the winter!

As we say goodbye to summer, residents and visitors of the Lowcountry are saying hello to what we’ve been looking forward to all year—oyster season!—and with that, a few of our favorite fall festivals and activities. Here are four events coming up this season you’ll simply “fall” for.

Weekly Food Festivals at The Salty Dog Cafe (September 11-October 30)

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The Salty Dog Cafe kicked off the season on September 11th by hosting a Lowcountry Boil at South Beach Marina in Hilton Head. The event included some of the Lowcountry’s favorite fare—think fresh shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes—plus live music.

But the foodie fun doesn’t stop there! The Salty Dog Cafe will be throwing a different food fest every Saturday until November! Check out this list of upcoming events:

  • The Salty Dog’s Craft & Beer Festival (September 18)
  • Wing & Chili Cook-Off (September 25)
  • Fall Oyster Roast (October 2)
  • Lobster Boil (October 9)
  • Hushpuppyfest (October 16)
  • Shrimp Extravaganza (October 23)
  • Haunted BBQ (October 30)

For more details, visit The Salty Dog Cafe’s event page.

Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival (September 14-18)

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If wine is your go-to alcoholic beverage, check out Hilton Head Island’s Wine & Food Festival, which will feature 250+ wines from around the world paired with our favorite Lowcountry cuisines.

Starting September 14th, you can participate in any of these events taking place during the festival:

  • Movie Night at Park Plaza Feel like wine and a movie? Visit the Park Plaza Cinema on September 14th at 6 pm for various appetizers and wines to try. The tasting and reception begin at 6 pm, and the movie starts at 7!
  • Sip and Stroll On September 15th, from 4 to 7 pm, enjoy an evening of wine and shopping at The Shops at Sea Pines Center. Check out the pop-up art market while you’re there!
  • Hilton Head Wine & Food Festival Public Tasting – Of course, we highly recommend going to the main event: a public wine and craft beer tasting from 12 to 3 pm on September 18th at Celebration Park. Food vendors will be on-site selling plates to complement your wine!

Note: Tickets for the festival and its various events are limited; get yours today before they’re sold out!

Annual Bluffton Fall Festival (September 25)

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If you’re looking for something more family-friendly to do this season, the Annual Bluffton Fall Festival returns on September 25th and is free for all ages! Although some activities will be limited or canceled this year due to COVID-19 concerns, there will still be plenty to do for the family:

  • Swiss Historical Society (10 am to 3 pm) Tour the Schumacher House, try your hand at making brick oven bread and handicrafts, and watch food prep and woodworking demonstrations. Kids can enjoy the straw bale maze, games, and animals!
  • Mennonite Memorial Home (10 am to 3 pm) – Stop by for lunch and pick up plenty of eats and treats (drive-thru meals only).
  • Downtown Bluffton (8:30 am to 2 pm) – Check out the Bluffton Farmer’s Market at the Citizen’s National Bank parking lot in the morning. From there, enjoy cars and coffee on Main Street! At the nearby Mercy Health Family Practice, you’ll find more activities for the little ones, including face painting and balloon artists.

17th Annual Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival (October 16-24)

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Finally, for perhaps one of the biggest fall events of the year, you’ll want to visit Bluffton’s art and cultural district for the 17th Annual Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival! This week-long event will showcase local seafood and art, as well as feature various activities for the entire family, including:

  • Art on the Street & Boat Parade Walk through Old Town Bluffton and view beautiful art displays, many of which are handmade original pieces from local artists. After exploring the art, head over to Wright Park to see the boat parade led by the Admiral of the Fleet. For dinner, enjoy your favorite Lowcountry staples, including shrimp, BBQ, and of course, oysters!
  • Old Town Oyster 10K Road Race & 5K Run – Run along the May River and enjoy views of the marsh. Participate in the competitive 10K or the shorter, family-friendly 5K. After the run and awards ceremony, enjoy music, gumbo, oyster shooters, May River Mimosas, and more!
  • Take a Kid Fishing Tournament – Grab your fishing pole and head to Wright Park for a fishing competition your kids will never forget! Children 13 and under are welcome to participate with a parent, and there is no fee to enter.
  • May River Oyster Farm Tour & Excursions – Learn how our famous Lowcountry oysters are produced and later enjoy lunch at the Bluffton Seafood House (reservations required; call 843-304-2878).

The events don’t stop here! You can also enjoy May River boat tours and excursions, live music, seafood tastings, games and art activities for kids, art and magic shows, fireworks, and so much more.

For more details about times, dates, and reservations for daily events, visit the festival website.

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Of course, beyond these exciting Lowcountry events this fall, there are also plenty of activities common for this time of year, such as fishing, calm water kayaking, and enjoying local tours and excursions.

And, if you find yourself “falling” in love with the Lowcountry faster than you can say “oysters” this season, contact our team to learn about how you can make this place home.

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