Celebrating Juneteenth in the Lowcountry

Around Town


JuneteenthIn June of 1865, freedom came to the then-Confederate South when the detestable practice of slavery was put to an end. For a people who had struggled for centuries, it was a day of tremendous joy. On Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton, special celebrations this month will mark the occasion with live music, authentic Gullah cuisine and a remembrance of the day the march to freedom began.

Hilton Head Island’s Juneteenth celebration will be held on June 15 at Mitchelville Freedom Park. The site of the celebration is auspicious, as the historic site served as the birthplace of freedom, the first town specifically built for those who had been freed from bondage.

Juneteenth2Hosted by WSAV’s Tina Tyus-Shaw, the event will feature interactive experiences that bring the era of Mitchelville and Reconstruction to life, plus a huge lineup of live entertainment. Headlining the event will be the musical collective “Just A Few Cats,” a group which includes American Idol winner Ruben Studdard among its membership. Joining them on stage will be Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers. Beyond the live music there will be great Gullah food and a kids zone with craft stations, bounce houses and video games, making this an event for the whole family.

Tickets for the Hilton Head Juneteenth Celebration are $15 for general admission, free for children 12 and under.

Blufffton’s Juneteenth celebration will be held June 7 and 8. The Friday night event will include the Gullah Shout series from 6-8 p.m. with conch stew and other food options inspired by the Gullah culinary heritage, arts and crafts and a slew of activities to immerse yourself in history. Admission is $2 for adults, free for children. The following night, The Heyward House will host a community celebration with food, music and more from 4-9 p.m. Headlining the event, Akua Page and Chris Cato’s Geechee Experience sees young Gullah misspelling misconceptions about Gullah culture and celebrating the enduring spirit of its people. Tickets are $5 for adults, free for children up to 14.