The Hinesville Area Arts Council’s “Sax and the Summer” event drew a diverse crowd of music fans Saturday night to the Yellow Bluff Marina. The festivities were slated to begin at 7 p.m., but attendees of all ages began to trickle in around 5 p.m. to claim good picnic spots, which they jazzed up and personalized according to different themes.
As they arrived, patrons were given pennies and instructed to drop the coins into buckets affixed to their favorite decorated areas.
Many local families set up shop at the concert, sparing no frill or flourish when outfitting their spaces in hopes of nabbing a prize in the decorating contest. Best in show, most patriotic, most elegant and most coastal picnic-space awards were distributed to decorators whose knack for ornamentation set them apart from the crowd.
Performer Mike Hulett, the “Super Sax Man,” dazzled the audience with his musical selections. He took to the stage early, entertaining guests as they arrived and set up, and played well into the night, taking just one short break to enjoy the assortment of food.
“All of the food was good, but these corn muffins are to die for. I need the recipe,” Hulett said.
At dusk, after picnickers had shared big dinners and put away the leftovers, they danced on the bluff to covers of classic songs such as “Mrs. Robinson,” “Georgia on My Mind” and “Mustang Sally.”
Around 9 p.m., the decorating-contest winners were announced. The Howard/Draffin picnic area was named most patriotic for its setup, which included a red, white and blue chandelier dangling from tent posts, nautical-themed tableware and many handmade decorations. The most elegant designation went to the DeLoach table, which was covered with a fishing net intertwined with flowers, peacock feathers attached to napkin rings and white candles in tall silver candlesticks.
The Franklin table, declared most coastal, touted a seashell mobile, a Lowcountry boil and old-fashioned lanterns. Best in show went to the Jarrell tent, which was decked out with red, white and blue tableware, patriotic streamers and flower arrangements made with locally grown plants.
The festivities quieted a bit after the winners were announced, but the convivial mood lingered as patrons exchanged recipes and chatted about the musical performance.
Attendee Julie Martin was glad she dropped by the event. “We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly,” she said. “The breeze was wonderful and the music even better.”