Sweetgrass Festival - Celebrating ten years

  • Monday, March 17, 2014

The 2014 Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Friday June 6th & Saturday June 7th at the Mt. Pleasant Waterfront Park located at 99 Harry Hallman Blvd. in Mt. Pleasant. Celebrations will kick off with “The Real” Taste of Gullah Banquet on Friday June 6th from 6-9 PM in the Cooper River Room. This event provides guests with an up close and personal look into the Gullah Geechee people's culture and traditions through their songs, music, dance & delicious Gullah Cuisine provided by five of the low country's finest chefs'. Entertainment will be provided by Saxophonist, Devon Gary, the Secret Jazz Band and local gospel groups. Elder sweetgrass basket makers will engage in a symbolic ceremony for “Passing on the Tradition” of sweetgrass basket making to their next generation. Guests will be treated to a unique fashion show featuring sweetgrass hats and purses made by local basket makers. A silent auction will feature art works by renowned local artist, Jonathan Green, and beautiful Sweetgrass baskets by local basket makers. Students from Sanders Clyde Elementary School will pay tribute to the Gullah Geechee people's contributions to the low country rice culture, by performing the African Rice Fanner Dance. Tickets for this event are $50 and can be purchased at: www.5tasteofgullah.eventbrite.com

On Saturday, June 7 from 9 a.m. -2 p.m., the Remely's Point Community Civic Association will host the Gullah Geechee Seminar in the Cooper River Room at the Waterfront Park. The Seminar is designed to educate the audience about the Gullah Geechee people's contributions to the social, economic, political and domestic development of South Carolina's coastal communities in the 1700 and 1800's. Scholars will engage the audience in dialogues focusing on the potential negative impacts posed by increasing residential and commercial development in the Town of Mount Pleasant and surrounding communities, to the continued survival of the sweetgrass basket making industry. The discussions will address education/health disparity, and heirs' property issues within the Gullah Geechee people's communities along the Gullah Geechee Culture Heritage Corridor.

Also on Saturday June 7 from 12 to 7 p.m., the highlight of the Sweetgrass Festival 10th anniversary celebration will take place at the Mt. Pleasant Waterfront Park. Returning for the second year, the Imani Milele Children's Choir from Uganda Africa will perform a mix of African Traditional music, Dance and African Acapella. Other entertainment includes singers, storytellers, gospel groups, the Adande African drummers and dancer and much more. Visitors can engage in hands on sweetgrass basket making demonstrations and take a chance in the drawings to win beautiful sweetgrass baskets. Artists and crafters will showcase a huge variety of handmade merchandise. The Festival provides a family fun environment where children can enjoy puppet shows, face painting, water slides, jump castles and an assortment of arts and crafts projects. Savor mouth-watering delicious Gullah Cuisine provided by Low country food vendors and restaurants.

Established in 2004 the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association's (SCAFA) mission is to protect and preserve the Gullah Geechee people's history, traditions, culture and their sweetgrass basket making art form. The annual Sweetgrass Festival is sponsored by the SCAFA Board of Directors, in partnership with the Town of Mt. Pleasant, the Charles Pinckney Historic Site–National Park Service (NPS), and Gullah Geechee Culture Heritage Corridor, the Market at Oakland, Billy Swails, State Farm Agent, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, East Cooper Medical Center, Direct Marketers of Charleston, Stubbs Muldrow Herin Architects, Inc., Gene Murray, State Farm Agent, Hughes Rental Co., and the Charleston Nut Co. Plan to spend the day with us for a Gullah Geechee good old time in the low country. Bring your chairs and blankets. Free admissions and parking. Visit: www.sweetgrassfestival.org or call (843)856-9732 for more info.

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