Penn Center celebrates 30th Annual Heritage Days

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The 30th Annual Heritage Days Celebration showcases the history of Penn School and the rich cultural legacy of the Gullah Geechee people of the Sea Islands from Thursday, Nov. 8, through Saturday, Nov. 10. Victoria Smalls, the history, arts and culture coordinator at Penn Center, said families and friends return to St. Helena Island every year for Heritage Days, and she

Penn Center has many events planned for the 30th Annual Heritage Days from Nov. 8-10.

anticipates approximately 20,000 attendees this year. Since Penn Center is also celebrating 150 years, organizers have many special things planned, including youth day, a parade, food, music, art exhibits, discussions and more.

On Thursday, November 8, join Penn Center at its Opening Ceremony and Penn School Founders Memorial Service from 3-4 p.m.; “Slavery by Another Name” Art Exhibit opening at the York W. Bailey Museum  4:30-6 p.m.; “The Road of Remembrance” a youth theatrical play, 6-7 p.m.; and for an Old Fashioned Prayer Service 7-8 p.m.

On Friday, November 9, begin  your day at the Heritage Symposium: “Slavery by Another Name”: The Discussion with breakfast beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the St. Helena Elementary School Gymnasium. Also on Friday, Youth Day events begin at 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Penn Center’s campus. The brand new Beaufort County St. Helena Branch Library will feature many learning activities given by library staff along with presentations by award-winning children’s book author, Kwame Alexander. Youth Day also will feature the Sankofa Traveling Museum, Aunt Pearlie Sue, Natalie Daise as Harriett Tubman and  Charlotte Forten, Civil War Re-Enactors Massachusetts 54 th Regiment, and many Gullah Artisan Demonstrations. Many craft and food vendors will be on the historic grounds starting Friday as well. If you are private landowner, heirs property owner and/or farmer the USDA  Natural Resources Conservation Service will host a farmers and landowners workshop on “Keeping Your Farm Productive, Profitable and Yours” Friday from 12-5 p.m., registration is required. Back by popular demand on Friday night will be the Fish Fry, Oyster Roast, Conk Stew, Crab Crack & the Blues with Bill DuPont and the lovely Thelma DuPont.

Early Saturday, November 10 come out and enjoy the Heritage Days Parade. Center Stage entertainment begins at noon with Mistress of Ceremonies and South Carolina’s very own Aunt Pearlie Sue and featuring Geechie Gullah Ring Shouters, SC State University Ujimma Dancers & Drummers, the Gullah Geechee Sea Island Coalition &  Queen Quet, Soweto Street Beat — South African Musical & Dance Production, the Lowcountry African Drum & Dance Ensemble, The Learning Tree, Gullah Storytellers and musicians. Also a special appearance by actor Daryl “CHILL” Mitchell who was featured in movies such as “House Party,” “Boomerang,” “SGT Bilko” and “Home Fries” and on television on “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Law & Order,” “The Cosby  Show,” “John Larroquette” and “Veronica’s Closet.”
Saturday will also feature a Taste of the Sea Islands cook-off; Artists & Authors Row; The Gullah Roots Village and many food and craft vendors.
For more information, contact Penn Center at 843-838-2432 or info@penncenter.com or visit www.penncenter.com.