The 2017 Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration and Festival is gearing up for its 21st year, with events set for February, according to a news release.
NIBCAA, South Carolina’s Gullah Cultural Ambassador, is presenting the celebration and festival, which will include its Arts, Crafts and Food Expo, a Sweetheart Ball and Arts Ob We People exhibit and sale.
The Gullah Market at Arts, Crafts and Food on Feb. 18 and 19 will be alive with music, dance and messages presented to strengthen the community and enhance the understanding of the native island culture. The Gullah Market will be open for food and shopping. There will be children’s events and more in this nationally recognized program.
Community Day on Feb. 18 will feature the traditional entertainment of the Wona Womalon West African Dance Ensemble, modern entertainment by the Family Slide Dancers of St. Helena Island and Whale Branch Middle School Steel Drummers. An addition to Arts, Crafts and Food is Da’ Gullah Jazz and Heritage Party on Feb. 19. The Jazz and Heritage Party will feature several on-stage cultural demonstrations and entertainment including the acclaimed Voices of El Shaddai and the soulful sounds of music legend Earl Williams. All tickets for the Jazz and Heritage Party include a complimentary meal of authentic Gullah food.
The Arts Ob We People exhibit and sale is the longest-running event of the annual celebration. Patrons and guests are invited to come and experience Gullah culture through the eyes of local artists. The Sea Island Gullah people adhere to the customs of their ancestors. Since there are few land markers that commemorate the culture, hand-crafted art serves to memorialize the lifestyle and traditions for the Gullah people. The annual exhibit and sale is the largest juried Gullah art exhibit in the world. The exhibit is open for tours daily during February at the Art League Gallery at the Coastal Carolina Art Center.
Throughout the month, several other cultural programs will be held that offer perspectives on the traditions that have been maintained by the descendants of the West Africans who were brought to the coastal islands of South Carolina and Georgia in bondage. Those programs include the Sweetheart Ball at the Westin Resort and Spa, Gullah Gospel Music Series, Celebration of African American Authors, the Gullah Institute, Ol’ Fashion Gullah Breakfast, Freedom Day and Taste of Gullah.
Advance tickets are recommended and available at gullahcelebration.com. For more information about the Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration, visit the website or call 843-255-7303.