On March 3, an extraordinary opportunity awaits – an opportunity to experience something that is profoundly Lowcountry. It’s an opportunity to come together with people from all over the region and not only celebrate the beauty of our environment, but support its preservation and the education of the rising generation that will be responsible for future stewardship.
The Outside Foundation will host the seventh annual Page Island Oyster Roast on March 3. Tucked between Daufuskie Island, Savannah and Palmetto Bluff, lies the remote 40-acre chain of Page Islands. Nestled in the Carolina salt marsh, this destination offers visitors a chance to unplug from the hustle and bustle and immerse themselves in the stunning landscape that surrounds Page Island. It is the ideal setting for reinforcing the importance of the Outside Foundation’s mission.
Michael Smalls and Dino Badger masterfully weave seagrass baskets, a Gullah art that is treasured in the coastal south.
On the surface, their mission seems to be a simple one: “We get kids outside and we protect and preserve local environments.” But it is a mission that, like the simple act of dropping a pebble in our tidal waters, creates a ripple effect that has resulted in an ever-growing impact on the health of our eco-system.
Through its Kids in Kayaks Program, piloted by Program Director Susan Dee, thousands of seventh graders have been introduced to the tidal salt marsh via a fun-filled field trip that includes a half day of kayaking and a half day in dockside activities that offer hands-on, science-based learning. “Almost half of the students we host for any given Kids in Kayaks program have never before worn a life jacket, held a paddle, or hopped into a kayak to explore our local salt marshes,” said Executive Director Jean Fruh.
Arriving in Style – The custom luxury catamaran Outside Ohana, departing from Palmetto Bluff, is just one of three ways you can cruise to the fun on Page Island.
The community-based Oyster Shell Recycling and Bed Restoration Program has diverted 150 tons of shell from our local landfill and, thanks to a partnership with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, has resulted in the building of 20 new reefs along the shorelines of Hilton Head Island and the May River in Bluffton. Over the past 10 years, the Outside Foundation has hosted more than 100 beach, park, and waterway clean ups with more than 3,500 volunteers participating, hauling away 10.1 tons of trash.
The Page Island Oyster Roast Benefit was the brainchild of Mike Overton, CEO of Outside Brands. Outside Brands’ mission is to introduce people to exceptional places, products, and experiences, and Overton recognized the value and importance of protecting the natural beauty of the region his company calls home. Consequently, in 2014, Outside contributed resources to the establishment of the Outside Foundation.
Music That Makes The Moment: Cranford and Friends will once again rock Page Island with their authentic Lowcountry vibes.
Overton heralds the accomplishments of this organization with these words: “The Foundation does not just talk, they do not just educate, the Outside Foundation simply gets it done.” Under the leadership and guidance of Fruh and her industrious staff, the Outside Foundation has grown substantially over the past 10 years, and the demand for generous donations to support scholarships for Kids in Kayaks, equipment, and the running of day-to-day operations has grown right along with it. Overton recognized that an event like the oyster roast would become “the Foundation’s vital annual fundraiser. Aside from an amazing afternoon on an exclusive private island, attendees support our local children and our local environment.”
For many, the Page Island Oyster Roast Benefit has become an annual tradition. From beginning to end, it is a masterfully curated event with even the trip to and from being something special. With the Page Islands being accessible only by boat, three options are offered: Take a catered mimosa cruise from Hilton Head aboard the famous The Spirit of Harbour Town; enjoy a pre-cruise beverage and snack before boating from Palmetto Bluff on the luxury catamaran, the Outside Ohana; or captain your own vessel to Page where experienced dockhands will assist in docking and shuttling you and your guests to the oyster roast.
Guests are expected to arrive by 1 p.m., and once you come ashore, the fun really begins. You will be serenaded by some of the Lowcountry’s most popular musicians, Cranford and Friends, while you peruse the extensive silent auction full of unique treasures from local artisans, special experiences, outdoor equipment and more.
Page Island captures the beauty and serenity of the tidal marsh.
Catered by Bluffton Seafood Company, tasty treats include steamed oysters and shrimp fresh from the May River and local waters. Treat yourself to locally sourced craft cocktails, beer and wine as you delight in watching kids (and adults who are embracing their inner child) savor the perfectly made s’mores. One of the most anticipated events is the live auction, with all the thrills of bidding on truly exceptional products and experiences. It is an incredible array of activities, wrapped up in one golden, all-inclusive ticket.
Come join the Outside Foundation for a day of Lowcountry splendor, excitement, and fun. The very instant you step onto Page Island, you’ll be struck by the profound significance of safeguarding and cherishing our environment. You will helping to ensure that every child in Beaufort County, regardless of their financial circumstances, can revel in the wonders of this special place.
Traveling in style from Hilton Head on The Spirit of Harbour Town.
“This is not merely an invitation,” Fruh said. “It’s an opportunity to impact our local environment and the souls of our children.”
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit outsidefoundation.org.