Celebrate the Gullah/Geechee living legacy

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Staff reports

“Fa We Ancestas” is the theme of the 2017 Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music & Movement Festival, which will be held from Friday, Aug. 4, to Sunday, Aug. 6.

This festival began on St. Helena Island in the Gullah/Geechee Nation in 2005 and has since traveled to numerous cities of the Gullah/Geechee Nation as well as to the Bahamas. This year’s return to St. Helena Island will be a celebration of the rich living culture of the island and Beaufort County.

The three-day celebration will include a series of cultural heritage activities beginning with “De Gullah Root Experience Tour” led by Queen Quet, chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com). This tour will encompass St. Helena Island and the city of Beaufort. The journey will begin at the St. Helena Branch Library, where featured artist for the year Sonja Griffin Evans’ “American Gullah” will be exhibited.  

After the tour, participants can dine on traditional Gullah/Geechee cuisine prepared by the chefs of MJ’s Soul Food while dancing the night away.  

The “Party with a Purpose Juke Joint Jam” will be start at 7 p.m. at the restaurant on Sea Island Parkway on St. Helena Island.  

On Saturday, the St. Helena Island Community Market, the site of the Gullah/Geechee Living Marketplace, opens at 10 a.m. at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park. Crafts, clothing, CDs, books and cuisine will be available for purchase.

There will also be activities for the youths and music and dancing.

The main stage opens at noon Saturday at the St. Helena Island Branch Library with a drum call led by the Wona Womalan African dancing and drumming troupe. The day will be filled with Gullah/Geechee dramatic presentations.

There will also be an opportunity for people to learn about Gullah/Geechee sweetgrass traditions during a workshop at the library.

A Gullah/Geechee ancestral ceremony will be held Sunday on Hunting Island.

Visit www.gullahgeechee.info, emailGullGeeCo@aol.com, or call 843- 838-1171.

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