With Christmas coming, no doubt many of us will be joining the Christmas carolers in belting out a few of our favorite Christmas classics. However, what if you’re one of those who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, but still want to join in on the holiday revelry? The folks over at The Kazoo Factory in Beaufort, SC, might just have some advice that will be music to your ears.

What’s a Kazoo?

For those who might not know what a kazoo is, let us explain: Kazoos are small, tube- shaped instruments with a small circular opening on one end. At the top of the kazoo is another hole which usually contains goldbeaters skin — the dried skin of ox intestines — which gives the instrument its famous buzzing tone. Their name comes from “bazoo,” an earlier slang word for a “trumpet.”

You can make your own kazoo as part of the tour.
Image: Stuckey’s Corp./Stephanie Stuckey

The kazoo is a truly American instrument believed to be invented in Macon, GA, sometime in the 1840s by an African-American man by the name of Alabama Vest. Vest worked for a Georgia clockmaker named Thaddeus von Clegg, who first introduced the instrument at the 1852 Georgia State Fair.

Kazoobie Kazoos Factory

Today, there is only one plastic kazoo-making factory in America, and it’s located in Beaufort, South Carolina. Rick Hubbard and Gayle Andrus started Kazoobie Kazoo Factory as an Internet retailer of kazoos in an airplane hangar on Hilton Head Island in 1997. After a short move to Florida, the factory made its way back to Beaufort in 2009 where they produce 5,000 kazoos a day — or about a million kazoos a year that are shipped to nearly 30 countries around the world. The kazoos are made out of medical grade plastic and can withstand just about any damage a little tyke might try to put it through.

Just some of the cartoon and celebrity kazoos and CD’s you’ll see at the museum.
Image: Stuckey’s Corp/Stephanie Stuckey

The coolest thing about the factory today is that you can tour it for a song (actually, it’s $9.00), which includes a video presentation on the history of the kazoo, a tour of the factory to see how kazoos are made from start to finish and — perhaps the best part — at the end you get to build your very own kazoo!

The Kazoo Museum

TV personality, documentary filmmaker, and kazoo enthusiast Boaz Frankel originally started The Kazoo Museum in 2007 in Seattle, Washington. A year later, he moved it to Portland, OR, though it was not open to the public. (It was, however, available to be viewed online.) After receiving an invitation to open his museum at Kazoobie Kazoo Factory, Frankel accepted the offer and opened the Kazoo Museum on October 6, 2010.

Be sure to check out the gift shop for some really cool souvenirs.
Image: Stuckey’s Corp./Stephanie Stuckey

The museum’s collection is one of the largest kazoo collections in the world and includes some pretty cool kazoos — including ones shaped like famous cartoon characters and kazoos used by famous people, such as the one used in The Partridge Family television show. They even have electric kazoos. In addition to kazoos, you’ll also find kazoo-related memorabilia like books, patents, sheet music, and records.

The museum and gift shop containing the largest selection of kazoos in the world are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. There is no charge to browse the museum and gift shop.

Fully guided tours of the Kazoobie Kazoo Factory are offered Monday to Friday at these hours: 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 2:00 PM. Admission for adults is $9.00; children aged 4 to 11 are $7.00; and children 3 and under are admitted free. Contact the Kazoobie Kazoo Factory for more information at 843-982-6387.

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