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Geechee Gullah Festival this Saturday
The festival, in its third year, will be hosted at J.F. Gregory Park from noon to 5 p.m.
2024 geechee gullah festival RH

The National Park Service’s Gullah-Geechee Heritage Corridor runs from the North Carolina coast down to Fernandina Beach, Florida. Too few Americans, however, know much of its impact on Southern U.S. life. 

Richmond Hill’s Geechee Gullah Festival aims to rectify the oversight. 

The Geechee Gullah Festival, now in its third year, is co-hosted by the David Boles Foundation, a local non-profit organization whose aim is to “support a healthy community by promoting educational, recreational, and spiritual solutions”. 

And Dr. Karen Boles, local Richmond Hill community leader and the chief operating officer at the David Boles Foundation, strongly believes that the Geechee Gullah Festival fits into ‘all three’ of the aforementioned categories. 

“It’s a community effort to bring focus to the original inhabitants of Richmond Hill,” said Boles, who also cited efforts by the Smithsonian and the Gullah Museum in Charleston, S.C. to spotlight the Geechee Gullah people and their descendants. 

The Geechees refer to the formerly enslaved people in Georgia and their descendants, where the name “Geechee” is derived from the Ogeechee River.  (Gullah is used to describe descendants in South Carolina and further north, and Geechee is used for those in Georgia.)

The theme for this year’s festival is “Ogeechee in My Blood,” where the event will feature Geechee Gullah food, art, testimonials, and many other historical and cultural presentations. 

Highlighted performers include Beaufort native and season 12 winner of ‘American Idol’ Candice Glover, sweetgrass basket weaver and storyteller Vera Manigault, and Reverend Dr. Walter Glover of the National Baptist Convention and Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church in Macon, Ga.

Guests are asked to bring lawn chairs to the park so that they may sit and enjoy the presentations and performances that are set to take place. 

“It encapsulates the entire culture, the music, the storytelling, the clothing, the food, and the history,” Boles said of this year’s upcoming festival. 

Third annual Richmond Hill ‘Geechee Gullah’ Festival 

When: Saturday, March 23; Noon to 5 p.m.

Where: J.F. Gregory Park, Richmond Hill

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