Tuesday, May 27, 2014
The 2014 Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, at the Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park located at 99 Harry Hallman Blvd.
Celebrations will kick off with “The Real Taste of Gullah Banquet” on Friday, June 6, from 6-9 p.m. in the Cooper River Room.
“Since relocating the annual Sweetgrass Festival to the Town of Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park, our attendance has more than double since 2009,” said Thomasena Stokes-Marshall, an original organizer of the event. “We averaged about 6,500 visitors last year and anticipate that number will increase this year. One of the things that has changed, is that we are attracting many more folks from out of town, coming to Mount Pleasant specifically for the 'Taste of Gullah' event.”
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 and delicious Gullah cuisine provided by five of the Lowcountry'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.
New this year, students from the School of the Arts will be modeling sweetgrass hats, purses and various apparel made by local basket makers in what promises to be a unique fashion show. A silent auction will feature art work by the renowned local artist Jonathan Green and sweetgrass baskets made by local basket makers. A silent auction will feature artworks 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 Lowcountry rice culture by performing the African Rice Fanner Dance. Tickets for this event are $50 and can be purchased at www.5tasteofgullah.eventbrite.com.
“For the past four years, 'The Real Taste of Gullah' event has played a major role in the growth and success of our annual Sweetgrass Festival,” Stokes-Marshall said. “The event includes elder basket makers who engage in a Passing on the Tradition ceremony, where the tradition of their sweetgrass basket-making art form is passed onto the next generation of their family.”
On Saturday, June 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Remely's Point Community Civic Association will host the Gullah Geechee Seminar in the Cooper River Room at Waterfront Park. Also on Saturday, June 7, from noon to 7 p.m., the highlight of the Sweetgrass Festival 10th anniversary celebration will take place at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park. Returning is, the Imani Milele Children's Choir from Uganda Africa will perform a mix of African traditional music, dance and African Acapella. Visit www.sweetgrassfestival.org or call 843-856-9732 for more info.