The Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration

Taking place throughout the entire month of February, The Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah people and their history on Hilton Head Island. GullahCelebration.com offers a synopsis of this event in the description below.

Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration programming includes a variety of events designed to attract local residents, regional, national and international travelers. The Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration has been recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast. Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration events incorporate the many facets of the Gullah culture. Visitors have an opportunity to experience the food and music, receive firsthand, historical information and take a journey through the culture via the visual arts.

Established in 1996, the Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration is an annual event held during the month of February. Since its inception, the Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration was designed to create economic development opportunities for minority business owners, to develop the cultural tourism market and to increase tourism in February on Hilton Head Island, historically the slowest month of the year. While consistently meeting the intended objectives the Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration continues annually to strategically assess opportunity for continued growth and expansion. The Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration is an initiative of the NIBCAA in partnership with the Native Islanders Property Owners Association, the Town of Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County and SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

Below is a list this year’s events:

Arts Ob We People Annual Art Exhibit and Sale

  • Feb. 1-26, Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Art League of Hilton Head Gallery in the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Ln.
  • The largest juried presentation of Gullah Heritage Art in the world with original works by emerging and leading artists that present the life of the Gullah people on Hilton Head Island and surrounding communities. Artists will be onsite at various times throughout the exhibit. Private and group tours available by request. Free Will Offering.

2018 Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration Opening Party

  • Thurs., Feb. 1, 6-9 p.m. Art League of Hilton Head Gallery in the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Ln.
  • The first opportunity for patrons and visitors to see the display of original work by emerging and leading artists at the Arts Ob We People Annual Art Exhibition and Sale. Free Will Offering.

Gullah Heritage Music: Choir Singing and A Capella Performance

  • Fri., Feb. 2, 7 p.m. Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, 382 Squire Pope Rd.
  • Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This kickoff to the Gullah Celebration’s annual music series celebrates the African- American oral tradition. Free Will Offering.

Taste of Gullah

  • Sat., Feb. 3, noon-3 p.m. Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Ln.
  • This one-of-a-kind event features authentic Gullah dishes such as okra gumbo, conch stew, fried shrimp and char-grilled chicken and ribs. While you eat, enjoy entertainment by local artists including traditional dancers, musicians and storytellers. Free admission; food sold separately at $12 per plate.

Gullah Heritage Music Series: Gospel Classics

  • Fri., Feb. 9, 7 p.m. First African Baptist Church, 70 Beach City Rd.
  • Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This second installation in the Gullah Celebration’s annual music series celebrates the origin of gospel music dating back more than 200 years. Expect to hear hymns, spirituals and jubilee songs. Free Will Offering.

Ol’ Fashioned Gullah Breakfast

  • Sat., Feb. 10, 8 a.m.-noon. Historic Cherry Hill School, 209 Dillon Rd.
  • Home cooking that shows some, and reminds others of, a traditional Gullah breakfast featuring your choice of stewed oysters, shrimp in a savory Lowcountry gravy, fried fresh catch fish paired with hot butter grits and fresh biscuits. Meals are prepared by people of the local Gullah community, coordinated by Ooman Chef Louise Cohen. $12 at the door.

The Freedom Experience at Mitchelville

  • Sat., Feb. 10, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Historic Cherry Hill School, 209 Dillon Rd.
  • Take a journey through historic Mitchelville by bike or by foot. In 1862, shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed—while most of the African-American slave population was still trying to adjust to the idea of their new post-war freedom—people of Mitchelville were busy creating a completely new, self-governed culture that would be the guidepost for generations to follow. Free Will Offering.

Sweetheart Ball with Deas-Guyz

  • Sun., Feb. 11, 7-11 p.m. Sea Pines Country Club, 30 Governors Rd.
  • This event is sure to keep you dancing all evening long with Hilton Head Island’s favorite band, Deas-Guyz. Enjoy a Lowcountry buffet including smothered pork loin, collard greens, red rice and peach cobbler. Cash bar. $75 per person, includes dinner.

Gullah Heritage Music Series: Gospel Choirs

  • Fri., Feb. 16, 7 p.m. Queen Chapel AME Church, 114 Beach City Rd.
  • 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. Free Will Offering.

The Gullah Market and Festival

  • Sat., Feb. 17, 11 a.m-5 p.m. Shelter Cove Community Park, 39 Shelter Cove Ln. 
  • An all-access experience to Gullah culture with cultural demonstrations, authentic Gullah and African crafts and food for sale, as well as traditional storytelling and musical entertainment with the Gullah Geechee Ring Shouters, Heritage Storyteller Louise Cohen, Cora Miller as Harriett Tubman, Parris Island Jazz Band, Deas-Guyz and more. Bring chairs. $10 general admission; $5 youth (5-12); free for children 4 and under.

Gullah Heritage Music Series: Gospel Quartets

  • Fri., Feb. 23, 7 p.m. St. James Baptist Church, 209 Beach City Rd.
  • Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This closing event of the four-part music series features acclaimed Gospel quartets of the Lowcountry. Expect to hear powerful spirituals, hymns, jubilee and gospel music that soothes your soul. Free Will Offering.

Please call or visit the website to confirm dates, times, pricing and locations. (843) 255-7304 or gullahcelebration.com.