Columbia, SC – Celebrating the rich cultural heritage and entrepreneurial spirit of one African-American family – who lived and worked on the same property for more than 140 years – the Historic Columbia Foundation presents the 33rd annual Jubilee: Festival of Heritage. This free, family-friendly event will be held on the grounds of the historic Mann-Simons Site, 1403 Richland Street (at Marion) on Saturday, August 27 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Families and friends across the Midlands have been convening at Jubilee for decades to celebrate African-American heritage in a fun, festive environment. “Every year, my mom & I plan well in advance to attend Jubilee together,” notes local young professional, Jernell Simmons. “It’s our ‘thing’!”
Over 2,000 guests attended the festival in 2010. This year, multi-generational crowds will enjoy a variety of activities, including the following:
• Live music by the Benedict College Concert Choir (one of the Southeast’s premier, award-winning gospel choirs – here’s hoping they’ll do their incredible rendition of Hootie’s “Hold My Hand!”), and perennial favorite, headliner Drink Small, the “Blues Doctor.”
Other acts onstage (with covered – and misted – seating) include the Jubilee Choirs (from the three churches founded in the basement of the Mann-Simons Site), African dancing, live reggae, live jazz, the jumprope troupe Double Dutch Forces, and a ground-breaking, collaborative performance, “Generations,” by the theater group NiA and Darion McCloud with the Columbia Housing Authority.
• Live appearance by Joseph McGill, who is sleeping in original slave cabins across SC. His story was recently featured on NPR.
Historic Columbia is thrilled to have Joseph back as part of the 54th Massachusetts reenactment group (depicted in the 1989 film Glory, starring Denzel Washington), who will set up camp and discuss the 54th’s role as the first black regiment organized in the northern states during the civil war.
• Hands-on demonstrations and craft tents from some of the region’s most skilled artists and craftsmen, including textile artist Arianne King-Comer. Working with traditional indigo dyeing and batik techniques, King-Comer designs fabric artworks depicting Gullah ancestors and plantation life (www.ariannekingcomer.com). Other demonstration artists include the mesmerizing storyteller Kitty Wilson-Evans, as well as folk artist demos of cast-net tying with Charles Williams, Gullah quilting with Dorothy Montgomery, broom-making with Peter Werner, and printmaking with Pat Kabore.
• The popular Bus Tour returns, Simkins hardhat tour & more!
Step back in time by taking one of the historic tours being offered by Historic Columbia. Visit the home of the Celia Mann family ($1 admission), take the celebrated bus tour, “Home places, work places, resting places: African-American Heritage Sites Tour” ($2), and be one of the first visitors to the “in-progress” renovation of the Modjeska Simkins property. This free hard-hat tour will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the renovation of this one-story Columbia cottage, once home to Modjeska Monteith Simkins, considered “the matriarch of Civil Rights activists of South Carolina.”
• Yam Cook-Off
Enter your best yam recipe into the Yam Cook-Off, judged by local media personalities. “Is a yam a sweet potato?” No! Although similar in taste and texture, they are unrelated. Why the confusion? African slaves had already been calling the ‘soft’ sweet potatoes ‘yams’ because they resembled the yams in Africa. Prizes will be given for Overall Winner, Best Presentation, and Healthiest Dish. Entry fee is $10; entry form is on the Historic Columbia website: http://historiccolumbia.org/site/calendar/2011/08/27/events/jubilee-festival-of-heritage
• At the Archaeology Tent, archaeologist Jakob Crockett will review findings from his recent excavation and discuss an upcoming new outdoor exhibit and Ghost Structures.
• Lunch Counter Artifacts – NEW
Did you know that the Mann-Simons Site housed a legendary lunch counter, where the community gathered for years over biscuits, shank ham, and nickel candies? Recently excavated from a post-blaze trash pit by Historic Columbia’s archaeological team, a room full of artifacts are on display for the first time.
• Kids’ Poster Contest
Attention all kids from kindergarten to 8th grade! You’re invited to create a poster for the Jubilee: Festival of Heritage Poster Contest. This year’s theme is “The Delany Sisters Reach High,” the children’s version of “Having Our Say, The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years,” the book read citywide in this year’s hugely successful “One Book, One Columbia” project sponsored by City Councilwoman Dr. Belinda Gergel. Like the remarkable Mann-Simons family, the Delanys of North Carolina were a well-regarded, prestigious African-American family whose legacy continues to be celebrated today.
• Street Fair
An assortment of exhibitors, vendors, and purveyors of tasty food and drink will be on hand as well. Marion Street between Richland and Calhoun will be blocked off for this vibrant fair!
Applications for vendors are being accepted until August 11th.
For more information on the 2011 Jubilee: Festival of Heritage and for applications please visit www.HistoricColumbia.org or call 803.252.1770, ext. 33.