An annual rite of autumn in Georgetown falls on the third Saturday every October with the Wooden Boat Show.
Entering its 23rd year this weekend, Harbor Historical Association officials, as well as exhibitors, are equally excited about this family event that showcases history and heritage of Georgetown, established where the Sampit, Black, Great Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers empty into Winyah Bay.
Sally Swineford, owner of the River Room Restaurant in Georgetown, has volunteered for the festival since its launch, and Mac McAlister, a local historian and author who has exhibits at the show, helped set up the S.C. Maritime Museum, which opened downtown in December, a dream realized from raising funds from boat shows through the years.
A week before the festivities, Swineford and McAlister, whose third book was published Oct. 8 by Harper Press of Charleston – “The Life and Times of Georgetown Sea Captain Abram Jones Slocum, 1861-1914” – each reflected on the boat show and its place in the heart of Georgetown tradition.
After that, the rice industry was king. Georgetown County was the biggest rice producer in the United States. It all went out by sea; that’s been the lifeblood of Georgetown ... and through the lumber times after the Civil War until the Great Depression. ... The International Paper Co., which shipped things out by water, came in the area in 1937, and the steel mill came in 1968, when it bought scrap shipped in by ship.