A Gullah Geechee Christmas with Aunt Pearlie Sue

Experience the spirit of the holiday season the first weekend in December in historic Beaufort, S.C. with a soul stirring, foot tapping musical celebration of Gullah Geechee feasts, live music, original art, drama and storytelling.

Festivities begin Friday, December 6, with Aunt Pearlie Sue and the Gullah Kinfolk, who will perform a Gullah Kinfolk Christmas Wish… Freedom Comin’ at 7 p.m. at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort’s Performing Arts Center (805 Carteret Street).

Historian, writer, singer, storyteller, teacher and ordained minister Anita Singleton-Prather (Aunt Pearlie Sue) leads a cast of twenty plus singers, dancers, actors and musicians who tell an original story of Christmas in 1862 just before the start of the Civil War and shortly after South Carolina secedes from the Union. The show is set in the “quarters” and “big house” of a Sea Island plantation where the hope of freedom among the Gullah Geechee people is expressed through storytelling and song.

Singleton-Prather authored the play. She has appeared on PBS, CNN and other television networks and produced and starred in films screened at film festivals around the nation. She and members of her group will visit Africa in early December at the invitation of the mayor of Sierra Leone.

Admission to the Friday show includes a Gullah Geechee dessert buffet and “Da’ Market Place Artists Showcase” where paintings, crafts, jewelry and other items will be available for sale directly from the artists.

Singleton-Prather said the performance is geared for people of all ages and all backgrounds. “It’s our passion to share our history, food, art and culture with everyone! Make our holiday tradition yours, too and come on ‘home’ to the Sea Islands of historic Beaufort, S.C.”

Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door. Admission for children age 7 to 17 is $15.

The celebration continues Saturday, December 7 from noon to 5 p.m. at Beaufort’s Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park with the Christmas Taste of Gullah & Rice Cook-off. There will be live entertainment and vendors selling a variety of gourmet foods. Admission to the park is free.

In addition, “Just fo’ da’ Chillun” school shows are available for students, giving them the chance to enjoy live theater while learning about the rich Gullah Geechee heritage and the history of Reconstruction.

The events compliment other annual yuletide activities in Beaufort, including the popular Night on the Town block party, a Light up the Night boat parade and the annual Christmas parade. Contact the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce at for more information about these events. Special group rates and packages for hotels and tickets are available through the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce by calling (843) 986-1102.

For information about a Gullah Kinfolk Christmas Wish, the Christmas Rice Cook-off or Just Fo’ da Chillun contact Anita Singleton-Prather by phone at (843) 263-5229 or via email at auntpearliesue@yahoo.com.

“To God Be All the Glory for the Great Things He Has Done.”

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