Uganda Orphans to perform at the Sweetgrass Festival

  • Monday, May 13, 2013

The Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival will feature Imani Milele Children’s Choir from Uganda, Africa, this year. PHOTO PROVIDED

The Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival kicks off on Friday May 31, with the “Real Taste” of Gullah Banquet from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Town of Mount Pleasant Waterfront Memorial Park Visitors Center Cooper River Room, and promises to be an evening to remember.

The event features a variety of delicious Gullah cuisine provided by the Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College, Joe’s Catering services, Café on Main and Cruncho Enterprise with Chef Kimberly Brock-Brown providing tantalizing deserts. Renowned local Artist, Jonathan Green will present an illustrated talk with a look into the history of the Gullah Geechee people’s rice culture, followed by the African Rice dance performed by students from Sanders Clyde Elementary School.

Guests will be treated to a unique fashion show featuring Sweetgrass Hats and Evening Purses designed and made by local sweetgrass basket makers and modeled by the Charleston Hat Ladies. Witness the ceremonial “Passing on the Tradition” of sweetgrass basket making to the next generation. Entertainment will be provided by Songstress Zandrina Dunning and the Secret Jazz Band. Tickets are $50 and may be purchased at: tasteofgullah.eventbrite.com – or by calling 843-856-9732.

On Saturday June 1, The Gullah Geechee Group will host a seminar from 9 a.m. to noon2 noon at the Mount Pleasant Waterfront Memorial Park Visitors Center. Local scholars will provide information and engage participants in discussions concerning health, education and heirs property issues within the African American communities along the Gullah Geechee Culture Heritage Corridor. Admission is free.

From 1 to 3 p.m. the Mount Pleasant Waterworks, Charleston County and the Town of Mount Pleasant will present a comprehensive side-by-side comparison on the pros and cons of annexation along with information about sewer and septic tank services. The information will be presented by representatives to help property owners better understand the cost effects and impact upon the delivery of your police, fire, recreation, trash collection, as well as your homeowner’s insurance rates. Admission is free.

New this year, the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival on June 1 from noon to 8 p.m. will feature the Imani Milele Children’s Choir from Uganda Africa. Their sound combined with African traditional dance and drum routine, comes together to create a performance that you won’t soon forget. The festival puts you up close and personal with some of the most skillful and talented sweetgrass basket makers in the Lowcountry. You are invited to participate in hands-on basket making demonstrations and techniques used to create the stunning works of art.

Don’t miss out on the drawings for a chance to win one of these beautiful baskets. Browse the showcase of beautiful paintings, handmade quilts, arts and crafts that will be on display and available for purchase. View authentic slave artifacts exhibition and hear stories told by local basket makers in “Grass Roots” and “Bin Yah,” two locally produced documentary films that give an inside look at the life and history of the local basket makers.

The festival is designed to educate, entertain and expose visitors to the Gullah Geechee People’s history and culture through an assortment of folklores, gospel music, Adande African Drummers and Dancers and much more. The family fun atmosphere provides water slides, jump castles and an assortment of arts and crafts projects for children to enjoy. Savor mouth-watering delicious Gullah Cuisine dishes provided by Lowcountry food vendors and restaurants.

Sponsored in part by The Town of Mount Pleasant, the Market at Oakland, Billy Swails, State Farm Agent, Berkeley Electric Coop, The Berry Company and Doctor Joan Wynn-Taylor, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, East Cooper Medical Center, SCANA/SCE&G, Charleston County, Coastal Community Foundation, Juniper Blue Water, Direct Marketers of Charleston, Stubbs Muldrow Herin architects, Charleston Nut Company and Hughes Rental Company.

Bring your chairs, blankets and plan to spend the day for a Gullah Geechee good time! Admission and parking is free. Visit: www.sweetgrassfestival.org or call 843-856-9732 for more information.

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