Hilton Head Island has a lot to celebrate next week.
The community is marking the 350th anniversary of the sighting of the island by its namesake, English Capt. William Hilton, and the 30th anniversary of the incorporation of the Town of Hilton Head Island.
Activities are planned all week that deserve public participation.
The events are inclusive, sharing the story of the island from long before the current era of modern development. They also reflect a cooperative effort among many nonprofit organizations of a historical nature, led by the Heritage Library.
The schedule offers opportunities to learn, but also to exercise the body and take part in small-town celebrations. Volunteers and a small group of corporate sponsors have worked hard to make it happen.
A complete schedule can be found at the website celebrationhhi.org.
Highlights include an open house at Town Hall on Monday, following a relay bicycle ride along all 57 miles of the town's pathways.
Tuesday is being called "History Day," with buses taking people to every location of historical significance on the island, where docents will tell its story. It's free. Also on Tuesday, Beaufort County's preeminent historian, Larry Rowland of St. Helena Island, will give a brief history of Hilton Head at 5 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church. The lecture is free.
On Friday, a descendant of William Hilton, who is will speak at the Heritage Library.
On Saturday, Oct. 5, a large community party is scheduled for Coligny beach from noon to 6 p.m. The Headliners will play, and the Shore Notes barbershop group will sing a patriotic medley. A fleet from the S.C. Yacht Club will sail by and the canon used for opening ceremonies at the Heritage golf tournament will be fired.
There will be family games and a sandcastle contest. Awards will go to the longest-living Hilton Head residents, and group photographs are to be taken of native islanders and all those who have lived on the island for 30 years or more. Marlena Smalls, founder of the Hallelujah Singers Gullah chorus, will perform, as well as Cranford Hollow (formerly known as Cranford and Sons).
Much effort has been put into the events. They are planned to be inclusive, affordable, enlightening and fun. It's a lot to celebrate.