GULLAH FESTIVALThe Gullah Festival has been celebrating the culture of the Lowcountry descendants of West Africans for 25 years. The 2011 event is a tribute to festival co-founder Rosalie F. Pazant, who passed away Sept. 28, 2010.
From a small gathering of fewer than 35 people in 1986, the three-day festival has grown into a multi-faceted cultural exhibition featuring step teams, bands, church plays, great food and more. It's always held over Memorial Day weekend, at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park and other locations around Beaufort and Port Royal.
The festival's tour, which is about three hours, includes Beaufort, Lady's Island, St. Helena's Island, Port Royal, a Praise House, Coffin Point, historic churches, and other points of interest. New this year is a jazz concert. For a full line-up of activities, go to: www.gullahfestival.org.
WATER FESTIVALThe 56th annual Beaufort Water Festival theme is "56 Years of Tradition, 300 Years of History." The official festival runs from July 15-24 at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort and other locations.
This year's headlining musical acts include country music artist Lee Brice, performing on Saturday, July 16 for the Concert in the Park. Legends of the Beach, a popular beach music group will perform on Saturday, July 24 for the Commodore's Ball.
Some of the most popular events with families are Children's Day, the talent show and the Lowcountry Supper - where guests will enjoy the famous Frogmore Stew consisting of corn, sausage and of course, shrimp.
The festival also includes sporting events, zany races and arts and crafts vendors. Each year a new commodore is chosen to preside over the festivities. The 2011 Festival Commodore is Bob Bible.
For a complete schedule of events and to buy tickets online, go to www.bftwaterfestival.com. Events this summer File/The Beaufort Gazette Anita Prather as Aunt Pearlie Sue entertains with her hallmark Gullah folk tales prior to the annual Gullah Festival. The Gullah festival is May 28-30.