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Gullah Celebration

Gullah celebration logoJanuary 31, 2019 to February 28, 2019

Today, the descendants of West Africans that were brought to the coastal islands of South Carolina and Georgia in bondage are striving to preserve a way of life. Gullah is more than simply the language and name of a people. It encompasses the essence of struggle, spirituality, perseverance and tradition. The Native Island Gullah People adhere to the custom of their ancestors through the sewing of sweet grass baskets, the weaving of casting nets and preparation of traditional Gullah food.

NIBCAA has hosted the Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration, since 1996, which showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah people and their history on Hilton Head Island. This year’s Celebration events include the “Arts Ob We People Annual Art Exhibition and Sale”, “Taste of Gullah”, Arts, Crafts and Food Expo, Gullah Gospel Music Series, the Sweetheart Ball with Deas Guyz and more! We invite you to come and celebrate Gullah where your soul will be transformed by the spirit of the Gullah Culture.

23rd Gullah Celebration full calendar of events

A group of women dancing in traditional Gullah clothing

2019 Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration – Opening Party

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Opening Party is the first opportunity for patrons and visitors to see the display of original work by emerging and leading artists at the annual Arts Ob We People Annual Art Exhibition and Sale. This is open to the public.

Location: Art League of Hilton Head Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Time: 6pm

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Gullah art

Arts Ob We People: Winter Exhibition Sale

Begins Friday, February 1, 2019

This annual Art Exhibition and Sale is a display of original work by emerging and leading artists that represents the life of Gullah people on Hilton Head Island and the surrounding community. Artists will be onsite at various times throughout the exhibit, check for exact schedules at gullahcelebration.com. Private group tours are available by request.

Location: Art League of Hilton Head Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Times: 10am – 4pm Monday – Saturday; 2pm – 5pm Sunday

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Basket weaver wearing purple dress

The Freedom Experience At Mitchelville

Saturday, February 2, 2019

National Freedom Day was established in 1948 by President Harry Truman in remembrance of February 1, 1865 - the day President Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which outlawed slavery. This year we will take a journey through historic Mitchelville. On this tour you will learn more about what the people of Mitchelville were busy creating in 1862 before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and how that those citizens would create guidepost for generations to follow.

Location: Historic Cherry Hill School
209 Dillon Road, Hilton Head Island 29926
Time: 11am – 1pm

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A group of women in Gullah clothing, singing

Annual Friends And Family Day At First African Baptist Church

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Join historic First African Baptist Church for Family Night Program. The program will focus on Traditional and Contemporary Gullah Songs followed by a Reception with samples of Gullah Food.

Location: First African Baptist Church
70 Beach City Road, Hilton Head Island 29926
Time: 7pm - 8:30pm

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A hand playing the drum

Gullah Heritage Music Series Featuring The Voices Of El Shaddai

Friday, February 8, 2019

Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This third installation in the Gullah Celebration’s annual music series celebrates the influence of Gospel Choirs in the African American musical experience. Expect to have a hand-clapping, stand on your feet and soul stirring musical experience.

Location: Queen Chapel AME Church
114 Beach City Road, Hilton Head Island 29926
Time 7pm - 8:30pm

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Gullah food, fried conch, okra

Taste of Gullah

Saturday, February 9, 2019

This one-of-a kind event is and afternoon filled with authentic Gullah dishes such as Okra Gumbo, Conch Stew, fried shrimp dusted in traditional Gullah seasonings and classic barbecue favorites like char-grilled chicken and ribs. While you eat you can enjoy the entertainment from several local artists including traditional dancers, musicians, and storytellers. 

Location: Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Time: 12pm - 3pm

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Sweetheart Ball 2019

Sweetheart Ball with Stee and the Ear Cancy

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Are you ready to dance? This event is sure to keep you dancing all evening long with music performed by Stee and the Ear Candy. With the purchase of your ticket you can enjoy the delicious buffet of Lowcountry foods. You can add beer, wine or spirits of your choice at our cash bar.

Cost $65.00 per person or $650.00 for a reserved table (seating of 8) - includes a dinner buffet

Location: The Northridge Club
435 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island, 29926

Time: 7:00pm

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Gullah food

Soul Food and Friends Cooking Classes

Tuesday, February 12 & 26, 2019

Great cooking is about more than recipes—it's about techniques. In our classes you'll work together with other students in a fun, hands-on environment led by authentic Gullah Chefs. Get tons of hands-on practice on prepare lowcountry favorites using locally sourced foods!

Location: The Northridge Club
435 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Time: 6pm - 8:00pm

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Two women smiling in Gullah clothing

Gullah Music Series Featuring Choruses

Friday, February 15, 2019

Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This third installation in the Gullah Celebration’s annual music series celebrates the influence of Gospel Choirs in the African American musical experience. Expect to have a hand-clapping, stand on your feet and soul stirring musical experience.

Location: First African Baptist Church
70 Beach City Road., Hilton Head Island 29926
Time: 7pm

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Hands holding handmade beaded necklaces

The Gullah Market, An Arts, Food And Crafts Expo 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

An all access experience to Gullah culture! The annual Gullah Market offers cultural demonstrations, authentic Gullah and African crafts and food for sale, as well as an offering of traditional storytelling and music entertainment. An event to be shared with family and friends or for you to make new friends! Bag chairs are encouraged. Entertainment features the Gullah Geechee Ring Shouters, Heritage Storyteller Louise Cohen, Cora Miller as Harriett Tubman, Parris Island Jazz Band, Deas Guyz and much more!

Location: Historic Honey Horn
70 Honey Horn Dr., Hilton Head Island 29926
Time: 11am – 5pm

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Hands holding a Gullah instrument

Gullah Heritage Music Series Featuring Gospel Classics

Friday, February 22, 2019

Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This fourth installation of our five-part music series features acclaimed Gospel quartets of the Lowcountry. Expect to hear hymn singing, jubilee songs, spirituals and gospel that soothes your soul.

Location: Historic St. James Baptist Church
209 Beach City Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Time: 7pm - 8:30pm

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el shaddai

Gullah Heritage Music Series Featuring Gospel Choirs

Friday, February 28, 2019

Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This closing event of our five-part music series features acclaimed Gospel quartets of the Lowcountry. Expect to hear hymn singing, jubilee songs, spirituals and gospel that soothes your soul.

Location: Central Oak Grove Baptist Church
161 Matthews Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Time: 7pm - 8:30pm

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