Original Gullah Festival

Original Gullah Festival

May, the weekend before Memorial Day
The Original Gullah Festival is held annually in Beaufort, S.C., on the weekend before Memorial Day. Founded in 1986, its aim is to promote awareness of local customs and culture through the arts. The three-day event features such entertainment as jazz, blues, reggae, and gospel musicians; storytelling and dance performances; arts and crafts displays; museum exhibits; and a variety of food vendors.
The term Gullah, or Geechee, is used to refer to the African-American people and culture descended from slaves brought from Africa to the coastal region of South Carolina and the Georgia Low Country. Because of its relative geographic isolation in island communities, Gullah culture retained distinctly African and Caribbean features, including traditional foods, crafts, folk beliefs, and language.
The Original Gullah Festival was founded by Rosalie Pazant, her three daughters, and a family friend, inspired by a discussion of the "good old days" of celebrating Memorial Day in the African-American community. Pazant is still president of the board of directors that organizes and oversees the event, along with an executive committee. From 35 people at the first festival, the attendance has expanded to as many as 70,000 over the festival's three days.
CONTACTS:
Gullah Festival of South Carolina, Inc.
P.O. Box 83
Beaufort, SC 29901