New Daufuskie festival to bring world-class chefs and tourists to the island

A new festival featuring several culinary superstars will showcase Daufuskie Island and the Gullah Geechee culture in a way that hasn’t been done before.

Daufuskie Vibes and Tides presented by Haig Point will take place Oct. 18-20 throughout the island. The festival includes eight events that will encourage guests to taste, see and experience the best of the Lowcountry.

The inaugural culinary event aims to bring positive attention to South Carolina’s southernmost island accessible only by boat.

With two of the island’s three resorts closing down in the past few years, Daufuskie has been largely misunderstood, according to Haig Point spokesperson Adam Martin.

“Tourism has actually increased in the last few years,” Martin said, noting data from the Daufuskie Island Ferry Service that shows ticket sales for non-residents has increased more than 50 percent in the past year. “Although the two resorts have suffered,” he said, “the small business community on Daufuskie is really thriving.”

The festival kicks off Oct. 18 with the Beach Vibes event, featuring a few of Hilton Head’s most famous chefs, including Andrew Carmines of Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks, Clayton Rollinson of Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar, and Orchid Paulmeier of One Hot Mama’s.

Saturday evening’s event celebrates the Gullah-Geechee Heritage through creative cuisine made by world-class chefs, including Mashama Bailey of Savannah. Bailey’s culinary career has been on fire this past year, earning the 2019 James Beard Foundation best chef of the southeast award. She was featured in her own episode on Netflix’s Chef’s Table. Recently, her restaurant, The Grey, was named a top 30 restaurant in the world by Food and Wine and Travel + Leisure.

Author Alexander Smalls, who won a 2019 James Beard Foundation award for his cookbook, will be joining the Saturday evening fun, along with chef BJ Dennis of Charleston and Daufuskie’s favorite local chef and tour guide, Sallie Anne Robinson.

Martin said the festival honoring the Gullah Geechee culture comes at a crucial time.

“There’s recently been an awakening to that culture,” Martin said. “If we don’t pay our respects to it now, that culture could disappear.”

A portion of the proceeds from the festival will go toward scholarships for islanders and also to help rehabilitate the island’s five Gullah cemeteries.

Visit www.daufuskieislandvibesandtides.com for individual ticket prices and packages. All tickets include a free Haig Point Ferry ride to and from Daufuskie Island.