Local boating aficionados looking to have a good time can do just that at the third annual Coonfest.

The Saturday festival will take place on Lake Moultrie along Raccoon Island, for which the event is named.

Coonfest's creator Ian Hamilton describes it as one big party featuring live music, DJs, tiki bars and plenty of food.

And don't worry if you have small children. Hamilton said the festival is family friendly and will feature rafts for children to play on, all of which is at no cost to the public.

Hamilton said he is expecting around 4,000 people, double the estimated 2,000 people that attended last year.

"The first year, there were only about 50 to 75 boats. The second year there were 400 boats, so all the people that missed it the first time came out. We're expecting even more than that this time around," Hamilton said.

Hamilton, who owns The Flying Scotsman Construction, built several tiki bars that will be available for festival-goers to enjoy.

"We tell people to come get their tiki on. Eventually, as it goes year to year, we'd like people to come dressed up in costumes on their boats. That's the kind of fun atmosphere we're trying to create," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said he first had the idea to create Coonfest after attending a friend's birthday party.

"A buddy of mine bought The Swamp Fox, a house boat, and we were just sitting near a fire pit at a buddy of mine's birthday party. Halfway through, they just started jamming. I thought, 'You know, we could probably put a band on top of this boat,' and the whole thing started from there," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said that there have been no major safety issues in the past, but that first aid and security will be present just in case.

Lt. Robert McCullough, a media relations spokesman with the Department of Natural Resources, said although events such as Coonfest sometimes cause problems in terms of trash and noise, for the most part, such gatherings are maintained pretty well across the state.

"With those kinds of events we have had some complaints, but nothing specific to that event (Coonfest) that I'm aware of. We do look for things like that, that there's no trash in the area or anyone making a problem," McCullough said.

He said the main thing is for the partiers to practice safety regulations to make sure the festival remains a secure environment.

"We encourage everyone to use the resource (Lake Moultrie) wisely. We want everyone to enjoy themselves, but we also want everyone to get home safely, making sure you have all the safety equipment in the boat and are just operating in a safe manner," McCullough said.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908.