Everyone loves fireworks; it is hard to imagine someone who cannot associate the magic of fireworks to a childhood memory, favorite holiday or great story. Often, when people recount their favorite fireworks memory, they remember their family’s summer vacation and the Tuesday night fireworks at Shelter Cove for HarbourFest Summer Celebration. After 27 years of sending fairy dust into the sky and watching everyone’s eyes light up, we figured it might be fun to give you the inside scoop.
How much really goes into setting up a fireworks show? You just light the fuse and let them do their thing, right?
HarbourFest and Tuesday night fireworks begin in mid-June and continue through mid-August, but planning for the event begins immediately following the closing night of HarbourFest. Applications & Permits with a variety of law enforcement entities involved are required to stage such an event. We work closely with the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire Department, Beaufort County Sherriff’s office, the South Carolina State Fire Marshal’s office, SC Department of Natural Resources, etc. Once all the logistic & planning details are approved, the Tuesday night fireworks events are given the green light. The Shelter Cove HarbourFest event has been fortunate to have the continued and generous support of Greenwood Communities and Resorts, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, the Shelter Cove Harbour Merchants Association, the Town of Hilton Head Island & local business sponsors for many years and has received funding to help offset the cost of producing the shows, security, traffic management and facilities maintenance. This additional funding has helped sustain and keep this event going even through the economic downturn.
With six to eight months of planning complete, it is show time (literally!). Preparation for a Tuesday night fireworks show begins around 2:00pm with fireworks scheduled to shoot at dusk (usually 9:00-9:30pm). As is the case with all outdoor events, weather and safety conditions play a huge part in the execution of the event. Here in the South Carolina Lowcountry, afternoon thunderstorms are a frequent occurrence. The daily weather conditions and forecast are tracked constantly and they dictate when and if we can set-up a show.
On the show dates, the Fire Marshal & Marina Dockmaster are called by the pyrotechnic company to alert them of their arrival time at the designated location. Once the crew and marina team are assembled, a safe zone clearance of 50 feet is created around the area and boat where the fireworks are being moved. The pyrotechnic company and crew can then begin to transport more than 500 pounds of fireworks (the July 4th show generally exceeds 1,000 pounds of fireworks and entails an 8-10 hour set-up time) onto a boat which is then driven to the barge that is positioned outside the Shelter Cove Marina in Broad Creek.
The loaded vessel leaves the marina and makes the trip to the barge just a few miles away. All of the fireworks are then offloaded onto the barge, individually wired and covered, if necessary, in case of inclement weather. The fireworks crew then gets back on to the boat to shoot the fireworks remotely from a safe 100 yard distance from the barge. Two additional boats must secure the perimeter of the barge for additional safety measures until the end of the fireworks show.
The entire loading, unloading and set up process takes four to five hours, weather permitting. As mentioned, factors like rain, wind, lightening and even heat advisories can disrupt the set up of the show and cause a show delay or cancellation. Simply put, if there is a threat of severe weather or any inclement weather during the set-up or firing of a fireworks show, our staff has no choice but to delay or cancel the show.
We have faced nights where we had to cancel a show at 4:00pm because the fireworks crew cannot set up in thunder and lightning conditions. But when the weather clears and it is sunny and nice by 6:00pm, people want to know why on Earth the fireworks were cancelled. The answer? Safety. The safety of our staff and guests is our main priority and is not something we take lightly.
Trust us when we say there is no one more disappointed than our staff when a fireworks show is forced into cancellation. We speak to residents and visitors every week who tell us that the Tuesday night fireworks at HarbourFest is the event they look forward to the most every summer with their family. We hate to let these folks down, but unfortunately, sometimes the weather just doesn't cooperate.
We hope that by explaining the process of Tuesday night fireworks, guests, visitors and locals will gain a better understanding of the reasoning behind a cancelled show. No matter, the magic occurs every Tuesday night, mid-June to mid-August! … Weather permitting. : )
Summer is in full swing, and we love following along on your adventures! If you’re staying at Palmetto Dunes, tag your Instagram photos with #PalmettoDunes. There were so many great posts in June, it was nearly impossible to choose just five to highlight.
Instagramer @stillscapes shared this photo of one of San Miguel’s famous margaritas! What’s your vacation cocktail of choice? With seven different dining options at Shelter Cove Harbour, the options are plentiful!
Hold on… let me take a selfie! After all, you’ll want to remember the family fun you have at Palmetto Dunes. Instagramer @sheiswoven snapped this photo of her “canoe crew” while exploring our lagoon system.
Did you know that you can book canoes & kayaks online before your vacation? It’s true! Visit Hilton Head Outfitters for more info.
Why do Palmetto Dunes guests take the best sunrise and sunset photos? Because Hilton Head Island is home to the best sunrises and sunsets! Instagramer @mrs_gabby_photos snapped a pic of the gorgeous pink and purple sky while she was strolling along Palmetto Dunes Beach.
One of the best things about staying at Palmetto Dunes is being surrounded by nature. Twitter user @AroundIndy woke up to find these new friends right in his vacation home’s backyard!
Last but not least, we had to share this photo that Twitter user @TotalGolfTravel shared of the iconic Robert Trent Jones course! If you’ve golfed there before, we bet you know which hole this is. Take an online hole-by-hole tour!
Stay tuned for more guest photography from July! In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram at Instagram.com/PalmettoDunesSC.
Did you visit Palmetto Dunes last month? If so, we hope you shared photos from your trip! Tag your photos #PalmettoDunes, and you might see them shared on our social channels, or here on this blog!
Instagramer @101ThingsILove shared this photo and said “Hard to get sick of this view.” Truer words were never spoken! That’s why guests love returning to Palmetto Dunes year after year.
Don’t you just love a good round of golf on a sunny Spring day? We have three incredible courses for you to play. Instagramer @jasonphess snapped this photo while playing the Robert Trent Jones course.
Time flies when you’re having fun! Harry S. and his family went on an eight-mile bike ride during their vacation. You can make your vacation even easier by booking your bicycles online, and having them delivered before you arrive.
Wow, doesn’t this look like heaven? Sunrise at Palmetto Dunes Beach is so peaceful. Instagramer @elfernandoville posted this gorgeous shot. What’s your favorite time to take a stroll on the beach?
Thanks to everyone who shared their photos with us last month! Don’t forget, tag your photos with #PalmettoDunes on Instagram and Twitter to share them with us, or come find us on Facebook! We’ll highlight five more photos next month.
Vacations shouldn’t be go, go, go. They should be slow, slow, slow. Here on Hilton Head Island, we travel at our own pace. And when you vacation at Palmetto Dunes, you do too. You’re living on island time now.
Make sure you visit hiltonheadisland.org/myislandtime to enter the contest. If you win, you’ll receive a three-night stay at Palmetto Dunes, with complimentary bicycle and kayak rentals!
# Your Way to Fun @ShelterCoveMarina
Summer is back at Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina and there are so many ways to make your friends jealous of your Hilton Head Island lifestyle or vacation! Sometimes, as locals, we forget how lucky we are to live on such a beautiful island – until we are sipping on one of the infamous margaritas from San Miguel’s, listening to live entertainment while the sun sets over Broad Creek. And visitors – we know you have been counting down the days until the Saturday morning when you cross the bridge onto Hilton Head Island for you well-deserved getaway. What better way is there to commemorate your trip than posting spectacular photos for all of your friends and family to see?
During the month of June, we invite locals and visitors alike to post photos with #ShelterCoveHarbour for a chance to win a gift certificate from one of the six waterfront restaurants or shops in the harbour. We will choose our favorite photo each Friday during the month of June and notify you via social media! Happy Hashtagging from your friends @Shelter Cove Harbour!
Follow @PalmettoDunesSC for the latest info and photos from #ShelterCoveHarbour
The weather is getting warmer and golfers everywhere are flocking to their favorite golf courses to test their skills and enjoy the greens in their pristine condition. Professional golfers are gearing up for major tournaments and we cannot wait to follow their every move on our favorite sports shows, networks and on social media. In honor of the major tournaments, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is excited to announce a new contest series, the “Major Golf Challenge”!
For each of the major golf tournaments, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort will hold a contest on social media where the winner will be awarded a free round of golf on any of our three world-class golf courses. All you have to do is like Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Facebook and comment on our “Major Golf Challenge” Post with your prediction of who will win the tournament and their winning score. Guess correctly – and you win! It is that easy. Contest details below. Good luck and happy predictions golf fans!
U.S. Open Contest Dates: June 14 – (Midnight) June 17, 2015
Open Championship Contest Dates: July 8 - (Midnight) July 11, 2015
PGA Championship Contest Dates: August 6 - (Midnight) August 9, 2015
The Masters Contest Dates: March 31 - (Midnight) April 3, 2016
The “Major Golf Challenge” will run four times a year directly prior to the first round of The U.S. Open, The Open Championship, The PGA Championship and The Masters. See contest dates above. Enter to win by commenting the winner’s name and score on the “Major Golf Challenge” Post on Facebook before the deadline. Up to four winners will be chosen based on time of entry. Winners will be presented with a certificate for a free round of golf on any of the golf courses at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. Round is subject to availability and some restrictions may apply. Only one winner per foursome may redeem their certificate.
What do you love about Spring in lowcountry? Maybe it’s seeing the flowers bloom, or enjoying a leisurely bike ride on a warm day. Spring is perfect weather for golf and tennis, or to simply lounge by the pool. What we love about Spring is seeing your incredible vacation photos!
We asked you to share your photos with us on social media by tagging them #PalmettoDunes, and you delivered! Here are five of our favorites from the month of April.
Instagramer @cherylgirl36 snapped this photo during a scavenger hunt. Sounds like fun!
John F. Kennedy once said “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” We couldn’t agree more! Bikes are fun, relaxing, and a great way to explore the resort. Instagramer @101ThingsILove rented a bike during her Spring Break, and shared this great photo!
Did you know that you can rent your bike in advance from Hilton Head Outfitters? They’ll even deliver it to your vacation rental, and pick it up when you’re done.
Another favorite Springtime activity is tennis! Not only is tennis a great workout, it’s also a fun social activity. Instagramer @artnsole shared this photo from her visit to the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center.
Check out this action shot! Instagramer @meegsmcswain shared this photo and said “Great day for some golf at #PalmettoDunes!”
Tennis, biking and golf are great, but sometimes you just want to relax and catch a few rays. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there, too. Palmetto Dunes features three miles of pristine beachfront. This Instagram by @tranix9624 says it all!
Thanks to everyone who shared their photos with us! Don’t forget, tag your photos with #PalmettoDunes on Instagram and Twitter to share them with us, or come find us on Facebook! We’ll highlight five more photos next month.
Did you know you never even have to leave Palmetto Dunes to satisfy just about any food craving you might have while here on Hilton Head Island? Whether you’re dreaming of shrimp, pizza, fried chicken or BBQ, you can find it all within the resort.
Here’s a guide to dining at Palmetto Dunes’ many Hilton Head restaurants:
Big Jim’s BBQ, Burgers and Pizza - Family-friendly Big Jim’s located right on the Robert Trent Jones golf course has a variety of options to please everyone in your group. Choose from seafood, salads, pizzas, burgers, BBQ, nachos and a variety of drink selections for those 21 and older.
The Dunes House - The Dunes House is the place to be if you’re at the beach. Head up around lunch (or a little before or after to avoid waiting) to this outdoor Hilton Head restaurant (open weather permitting) for some fish tacos, shrimp cocktail, frozen cocktails and more. There’s also a kid-pleasing children’s menu. Did we mention the ocean view?
Palmetto Dunes General Store - It’ll be hard not to find what you’re in the mood for at this Palmetto Dunes classic landmark. Get there early for fresh-brewed coffee and cinnamon rolls, try their delicious fried chicken at lunch, snack on their plentiful candy and stop by in the evening for ice cream to round out the day.
Golf Grills - Arthur’s Grill at the Arthur Hills golf course and Fazio Grill at the George Fazio course offer a perfect filler-upper before or after a round of golf. Choose from sandwiches, snack and drinks to eat on or off the course.
Hilton Head Outfitters - If you need a quick bost after bike riding or spending the day on the lagoon fishing, Outfitters may have just what you need. They carry a selection of energy bars from Clif, as well as some sweet treats like Dippin Dots.
Alexander’s - For a more upscale dining experience within the resort, try Alexander’s Seafood Restaurant overlooking the lagoon. They offer seafood dishes complemented by an outstanding wine list. Reservations accepted.
HH Prime, Omni - Got a hankering for a steak? Head over to HH Prime at the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, offering the finest aged steaks, fresh seafood and the island’s largest wine selection. Reservations accepted.
Conroy’s, Marriott - Conroy’s oceanfront restaurant at the Marriott Hilton Head Resort serves classic American fare and seafood, including crab cakes, salmon and shrimp.
Did we miss anything you might want to eat? If so, be sure to check out our marina just across the highway at Shelter Cove. You’ll find even more dining there, including Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, French and more.Bon Appetit!
Every Thursday evening from April 2-May 21, visitors to Shelter Cove will enjoy live music from local bands, as well as appetizers and drink specials from Shelter Cove restaurants. One of the best parts of the evening is dancing! Everyone joins in around the iconic Neptune Statue as the musicians perform while the sun sets over Broad Creek.
The event runs from 6-9 p.m., so be sure to stop by before or after dinner at one of our delicious Shelter Cove restaurants, offering everything from Mexican and Italian to Mediterranean and French -- all with a water view.
If there’s a certain band you’re looking to see, here is the schedule to help you plan your visit:
This event is free to the public and weather permitting. Please remember no coolers or outside food is allowed. We will also be accepting canned good donations for the Deep Well Project.
See you at Neptune Statue this spring!
The slight, almost imperceptible tug on the rod tip signaled the sheepshead had taken the crab in his mouth. Pulling back gently to tighten the connection I waited for the second tap. At this point, history has taught me that it may be too late, the crab crushed and the fish gone, but there it was, another light tap!
Setting the hook quickly the classic tug and war battle was on. Bending the rod double on surging runs and taking drag, the sheepshead did his best to return to the structure below. After several minutes we finally had color, the black and white striped master bait thief was close. But they never give up easy and the fish took line again and headed for the depths.
Back and forth he went until finally the fish was close enough to slide the net under. Weighing around eight pounds, the sheepshead was mostly grown, while weights in the double digits are possible, few are caught over the ten pound mark.
Sheepshead are present year round in the low country but March is a banner month for this fishery. A member of the snapper family, they rank in my list of favorites to catch Difficult to hook due to their feeding habits, a real scrapper when it comes to fighting and last but definitely not least- they are delicious on the plate. A large set of teeth, almost human like, are used to crush barnacles, crabs and other hard shell critters.
The preferred bait for most anglers are fiddler crabs. The most common rig is a fish finder rig, a sliding sinker rigged above a short leader with the hook at the end. Dropping the crab over structure until the sinker hits bottom, then reeling the sinker up a foot or so allows the angler, if he’s lucky, to feel the light tap or tug when the sheepie takes the crab in his mouth. Only seconds pass before the sheepshead crushes the crab, spits the hook and then he’s on his way. Needless to say you need a good supply of fiddlers if you want to seriously sheepshead fish. Fresh clams and live shrimp are also productive baits.
One of the things I like most about March is that sheepshead are the harbingers of the season. They kickstart our local season, keeping us busy until the cobia show in late April and May, but that’s another month and another story. Now it’s time to catch the sheepies!
P.S. A note for our guests and residents of northern origin, these are not the same fish as the freshwater species you know from back home.