In 1985, when George Heyward was mayor of Bluffton, he proclaimed the buzzard to be the official bird of Bluffton. For a couple of years, he rode in the Christmas parade atop a garbage truck in his buzzard costume, to declare its new position of honor. (Photo from the Caldwell Archives.) COURTESY BLUFFTON HISTORICAL PRESERVATION

Leave it to the Queen of Calhoun to come up with another exciting festival for all of Bluffton to enjoy.

Babbie Guscio, owner of The Store, is the creator of such fun events as Mayfest (aka Bluffton Village Festival) and the Fourth of July Children’s Parade, and organizer of the famed Bluffton Christmas Parade from 1976 through the 2010s.

She also started the Bluffton Flower Show, which was last held in 2021, and which she is bringing back to blossom on March 4 at the Heyward House in Old Town from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Now, her very imaginative brain has brought forth the inaugural Bluffton Buzzard Day, to be held from 2 to 4 p.m. March 5 at Martin Family Park.

The two events are being held so close together because, Guscio said, “It’s time to bring the fun and funky back to town!”

For the flower show, anyone interested is invited to “Celebrate the Beauty of Bluffton” and enter floral arrangements to be judged. There’s a $5 entry fee per arrangement, and prize ribbons will be awarded. Sage advice will be offered, she said, and a plant swap and sale will be conducted.

Spring and garden vendors are welcome to join the fun with a $25 fee.

The flower fun will be followed the next day with all attention focused on buzzards. Buzzard Day is expected to attract lots of … well, buzzards.

Just for the heck of it, all are invited to dress up like buzzards, and to participate in the Buzzard Strut Contest, and to play pin the feathers on the buzzard. Prizes will be awarded for best-dressed buzzards and winners of various contests.

Partygoers can also listen to music by Bluffton’s Jevon Daly and his Koatic Kids Show at 3 p.m., which could feature a group of Baby Bluffton Buzzards. Daly has written a song to commemorate the occasion. 

Did we mention that the original Bluffton Buzzard will be on hand to help celebrate the day? If you don’t know what – or who – that is, you might not know that this is not Guscio’s first buzzard rodeo. 

Back in 1985, when he was Mayor of Bluffton, George Heyward made the big black bird the official town bird. It was mostly a joke, aimed at someone who had complained about buzzards around the Bluffton Oyster Factory.

Heyward said nothing could be done about them, but the complainant wasn’t satisfied.

So Heyward decided to have a little fun and, with Guscio’s help, he dressed up like a buzzard for the Bluffton Christmas Parade, and rode atop the town’s new garbage truck.

“He wore my black stockings,” Guscio said in a 2019 story in this newspaper about the parade’s history. “He wore my black stockings. That was funny. Because I’m short and so were my stockings.”

The Buzzard was an instant hit with with locals and continued to appear in the parade for a few years.

There is no entry fee for the celebration, but donations will be gratefully accepted for Laura Sterling and Cheryl Crosby Phllips, both of whom work tirelessly to rescue and rehabilitate dogs, cats and other critters of all kinds.

No dogs are allowed at the event, however, as the rescuers plan to bring some of their charges to meet and greet the crowd.

There will be no food trucks either, so bring a picnic lunch for you and your crew, along with chairs or blankets to make yourselves at home for the duration. By the way, if your picnic has a certain “buzzard flair,” it could win a prize.

For more information, stop by The Store, call 843-757-3855 or email Guscio at