Celebrate the rich history and culture of the Lowcountry at the Original Gullah Festival of Beaufort!
Reserve your stay at the Beaufort Inn, just steps away from the celebration at the Historic Waterfront Park.
The festival will feature live entertainment, educational storytellers and lectures, workshops from basket weaving to quilt making, and much more! Check out vendors selling delicious food, crafts, art, and clothing. Reserve your stay today!
The Gullah are African Americans who live in the Lowcountry on the coast of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. They are descended from slaves, largely from West Africa’s rice growing coast. These slaves, isolated on coastal plantations and sea islands, maintained and passed down unique cultural traditions, including crafts, music, language, spirituality, and foodways, that are still practiced by Gullah people in the Lowcountry today.
The Gullah Festival, a celebration of the Gullah’s rich cultural heritage, began in 1985 and was established to honor Decoration Day, a holiday now known as Memorial Day. Decoration Day first came into being on May 1st, 1865, when it was started by newly freed African Americans at the end of the Civil War.
According to Anita Singleton-Prather, Vice President of the Original Gullah Festival, when black soldiers from the US Second Infantry realized that their comrades had not received proper burial, they re-buried them and decorated their graves with flags, shells, and flowers, in West African tradition. This is where “Decoration Day” received its name, and the remembrance of that holiday is what the founders of the Original Gullah Festival honor today. The entertainment, crafts, food, speeches, and lectures honor the unique history and traditions of the Gullah in a three-day celebration.
Enjoy this unique festival by reserving your stay at the Beaufort Inn, just steps away from the excitement in Historic Downtown Beaufort.