Your Guide to the South Carolina Gullah Festival

South Carolina is proud of its Gullah culture and heritage. As a result, you may be able to find different Gullah festivals throughout the state. These festivals consist of arts, culinary and history activities that are designed to bring awareness of Gullah culture. While there are many of these events throughout the state, the original Gullah festival takes place in Beaufort, South Carolina. This city is located on Port Royal Island, and it’s part of South Carolina’s Lowcountry region.

Therefore, if you’re looking for the largest, oldest Gullah festival in the state, you need to go to Beaufort. This is where you’ll be able to find the most comprehensive festival celebrating Gullah culture. The following sections provide information about this festival and how you can visit.

How much does it cost to go to the Gullah festival?

The Gullah festival aims to provide South Carolinians and visitors with an opportunity to learn more about Gullah culture. To make this as effective as possible, the festival needs is affordable and easy to access for everyone. Certain days of the Gullah festival are free and open to the general public, while visitors need to pay an entry fee to attend other events.

Familiarize yourself with the different Gullah festival events and fees beforehand. This information is available on Beaufort County official websites, so be sure to check before the festival starts.

Cultural Events Available at South Carolina’s Gullah Festival

Each year, the Gullah festival aims to provide visitors with authentic exposure to this culture. To accomplish this, a variety of arts and culture events are offered for all age groups. Some of the different activities, exhibits and performances you can enjoy relate to:

  • Arts and crafts.
  • Dancing opportunities.
  • Traditional storytelling.
  • African drum performances.
  • Reggae, blues and jazz music.

Gullah Food You’ve Got to Try

Food and festivals go hand in hand. The Gullah festival is no exception. If you’ve been wondering about traditional Gullah food or Lowcountry cuisine, this festival serves as an excellent opportunity to give these dishes a taste. This festival offers an array of food vendors serving all kinds of foods that are part of Gullah culture.

If you’re looking to sample some Gullah Geechee cuisine, there are some items you should be looking out for. These include:

  • Stewed collard greens.
  • Rice.
  • Okra.
  • Oysters and grits.
  • Monkey bread.
  • Peanut cake.

Learning About Gullah History

Another major benefit of attending the South Carolina Gullah festival comes from how much you can learn at these festivities. The Gullah festival provides you with a prime opportunity to learn more about the culture you’re experiencing. This, in turn, can help you have a better understanding of South Carolinian history and slavery in the United States.

The Gullah people who live in South Carolina and Georgia came to this region as slaves. Today, this group of people is recognized because of how well their language has been preserved over the centuries. Therefore, if you’re looking to fully experience Gullah culture during your festival, it’s important that you attend events that shed light onto this people’s migration, history and rich storytelling traditions. These activities are readily available at the SC Gullah festival.

Is there only one Gullah festival?

While the state’s most famous Gullah festival is centered in Beaufort, there are other Gullah-related events that take place around the state. The following cities in South Carolina usually offer their own Gullah festivals and events:

  • Helena
  • Charleston
  • Hilton Head
  • Pawleys Island

There may also be events offered in nearby states. Some of these are related to Beaufort’s Gullah festival while others are not.

Additional Gullah Festivals

The original Gullah festival takes place once a year. However, you don’t need to attend this one festival to learn more about Gullah Geechee culture. In fact, there are various other Gullah festivals that take place around the state. Some of these focus on specific aspects of Gullah culture while others are more general. Additional festivals you can attend include:

  • The Gullah Food Festival on Hilton Head Island.
  • The Gullah Geechee Documentary Film Festival on Johns Island.
  • The Heritage Days Celebrations at the Penn Center in St. Helena