LAURINBURG — Scotland County and the surrounding areas will for the 23rd time celebrate African heritage with dancing, crafts and drums on Friday and Saturday.
Laurinburg’s annual Kuumba Festival will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday with a pageant at I.E. Johnson Elementary School, at 815 McGirts Bridge Road. By 10 a.m. Saturday, Market Park off Lee’s Mill Road will be packed with colorful patterns and loud with the sounds of drum beats and voices lifted up in prayer and hymns.
Organizer Bettie McNair says if folks enjoyed the previous 22 events, they will want to come out this year.
“Its the same every year because our goals are the same, and that is to share with the community our African culture,” she said. “It’s important to celebrate your heritage, period … people just need to know from where they cometh.”
About 20 food vendors are expected to park trucks or tents on the Market Park grass, and eight booths, some from as far away as Hilton Head Island, will offer arts, crafts, or educational items. Children will be invited to create jewelry or prints with one of McNair’s own designs — an Irish potato that will bear a relief of an African mask.
McNair has been in charge of the event since 1992. Planning and organizing is a lot of work, she said, but creating an atmosphere where people can learn the places from which cultural habits emerge is rewarding.
“It’s worth it, when it’s all over,” she said. “Your heritage is priceless.”
Here’s the lineup of the day’s events:
10 a.m. — Opening ceremonies, including welcomes from public officials, prayers by local reverends and a group hymn
10:15 a.m. — Libation and drum ceremonies performed by Wo’se Dance Theatre of Charleston
11:15 a.m. — History of the Kuumba Festival and the African American Heritage Committee, Inc
11:30 a.m. — African dancing performed by Wo’se Dance Theatre of Charleston
Noon — Miss Kumba celebration
12:30 p.m. — Victory Drumming and Dancing, performed by Sheara Nichi and Dancers
1 p.m. — Storytelling by Tyris Jones
1:30 p.m. — African dance and drum circle, performed by Sheara Nichi and Dancers
2 p.m. — Fashions on parade, meet the vendors
2:30 p.m. — Jazz music performed by A New Creation
3:15 p.m. — Gospel mime and dance teams, including The Spirited Messengers, St. Johns Dance Team, Bright Hopewell Mime Team and Scotland County Children Paraphrasers
For information, visit kuumbafestnc.com or call McNair at 910-276-4345.