Carson art

During the Old Homes Tour Kick-Off Party, artwork by Jim Carson will be on display. Mr. Carson is the tour’s featured artist. This year’s party is Saturday, June 8. (Contributed photo)

The events surrounding the 59th Annual Beaufort Old Homes Tour & More will begin with the Kick-Off Party at the Beaufort Historic Site from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8.  

Held as a thank you for the home and garden owners who open their properties for the tour, this festive community event features heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine and a variety of cocktails as part of the annual bartender challenge.

Amateur and professional bartenders vie for the title of “Best Mixed Drink” and attendees get to not only sample all of the drinks, but vote for their favorite and award this year’s crown.

Contestants include amateur bartenders Brian O’Haver with his original entry “The Baconator” and Stan Lamb and Scott Parker serving an “Under 40 Margarita.”

Professional bartenders from Aqua, Beaufort Grocery, Cru Wine Bar, Moonrakers and Front Street Grill at Stillwater are also lending their expertise but are keeping their entries secret due to the fierce nature of the competition.

“This event has grown through the years because of how fun the bartender challenge is,” Beaufort Historical Association Executive Director Patricia Suggs said in a recent press release. “There is also delicious food and great drinks in a casual atmosphere so everyone ends up having a great time.”

The party will be held in conjunction with the art opening for Old Homes Tour featured artist Jim Carson, and his paintings will be on display.

Beaufort has been a favorite of Mr. Carson’s since 2005 when his sister, Claire Burdette, purchased a home on Ann Street. The family would gather for Thanksgiving there.

“Who wouldn’t love Beaufort? It has all the attractions of a bigger place with the great restaurants and endless activities, but all in a cozy little town,” Mr. Carson said in a release. “There is so much to paint with the incredible diversity of boats, the water, the marsh, the flowers and all the beautiful porches.”

Mr. Carson always had an interest in art. He began drawing at a young age, but later had to put this hobby on hold for law school, family and building his law practice.

For 31 years, Mr. Carson was a managing partner in the law firm of Chambless, Higdon and Carson in Macon, Ga., where he specialized in business, banking and real estate law.

About 30 years ago, Mr. Carson’s wife, Beth, gave him a painting course under the direction of Marianne Dunn as a Christmas gift. Since then, Mr. Carson has been painting in oil and acrylic.

In 2003, when Mr. Carson retired, he and his wife moved to Saluda, where he now paints full time.

Mr. Carson is a member of the American Impressionist Society and is an associate member of Oil Painters of America with paintings accepted in shows for both organizations.  

Most recently, he won the Neil Patterson Award of Excellence at the 2019 Oil Painters of America National Exhibition in Saint George, Utah.  

His work is featured in personal and corporate galleries across the U.S.

In addition to the Kick-off Party, visitors can see some of Mr. Carson’s artwork at the Mattie King Davis Art Gallery on the grounds of the historic site, where his paintings will be on display through July.

The Kick-Off Party is the symbolic start to the Beaufort Old Homes Tour & More, which will be held Friday, June 28 and Saturday, June 29.

As well as the Kick-Off Party, the Old Homes Tour now encompasses a literary luncheon with best-selling author Patti Callahan Henry Thursday, June 27, a chorale concert at Purvis Chapel June 27 and a champagne brunch with interior designer Robert Leleux of Southern Style Now Sunday, June 30.

Tickets for the Kick-Off Party are $35. Tickets and information for the Old Homes Tour and all accompanying events may be purchased online at, by calling 252-728-5225 or stopping by the Welcome Center in Beaufort at 130 Turner St.

All proceeds from ticket sales go to benefit the education and preservation programs of the BHA.

(1) comment


The alcohol will flow. N. C. Highway Patrol, are you listening?

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