Lands End Woodland festival combines Gullah, Latino cultures

achristnovich@islandpacket.comSeptember 1, 2012 

The addition of Latino culture brought a new flavor to the eighth annual Lands End Woodland River Festival on St. Helena Island on Friday and Saturday.

In the past, the festival focused on celebrating the history of the Riverside Plantation property, which was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

This year, food and dances from South and Central America were added to the cultural performances inspired by Africa and the Gullah traditions of the Lowcountry.

Iris Sarria, a Peruvian Savannah-based dancer, was invited to perform by event organizer Pam Coaxum. Sarria said it was her first time on the island. She said she fell in love with the people and the land.

"It's like it's a big family from different towns," she said Saturday. "I'm going to have to come here more often."

By the time the festival wrapped up, kids were combining contemporary dance moves with some of the wide, sweeping arm movements Sarria used in her performance.

The event, held as a fundraiser to pay for maintaining the historic property, also entertained visitors with storytellers, singers, a puppet show, a DJ and food, all for the price of a $3 admission.

Among those attending Saturday were Republican state Sen. Tom Davis and Democratic state Rep. Kenneth Hodges, as well as Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner and 1st District congressional candidate Bobbie Rose.

The festival has steadily grown each year, according to John Miller, a member of Lands End Woodland Inc.

Miller estimated 600 to 700 people attended the festival this year.

Follow reporter Anne Christnovich at twitter.com/IPBG_CrimeNOB

Related content:

Land's End Woodland River Festival reminder of heirs' history and heritage, Aug. 26, 2012

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