National Park Week at 
Reconstruction Era National Historical Park

National Park Service staff and partners will be celebrating National Park Week at Reconstruction Era National Historical Park April 20 through April 28, 2019.  Numerous special programs and exhibits will be offered throughout the week as part of the celebration which will showcase the park and highlight stories of Reconstruction.

The celebration will kick off on Saturday, April 20th at Darrah Hall, located at the historic Penn Center.  American Gullah, an exhibit by local Artist Sonja Griffin Evans, will be open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and a ceremony celebrating Reconstruction Era National Historical Park will take place there at 1:00 pm.  Activities will be offered daily at various sites throughout the park.

Reconstruction Era National Historical Park was designated in January of 2017 as a National Monument.  The new National Historical Park designation came about as a result of recent legislation.  Activities during National Park Week will focus on the park and its stories.  These activities are open to all and are free of charge.  The schedule of events are as follows:

Saturday, April 20 – Darrah Hall at the historic Penn Center
10:00 am to 4:00 pm – American Gullah Exhibit 
10:00 am – Reconstruction and the Sea Islands program
11:00 am – Reconstruction and the Sea Islands program
1:00 pm – National Park Week Celebration Ceremony

Sunday, April 21 – Park Visitor Center at 706 Craven Street in Beaufort
12:00 pm to 4:00 pm – Military and Veterans Recognition Day, special programs offered on the hour and special gifts for veterans and military members.

Monday, April 22 – Earth Day Celebration at Park Visitor Center
9:00 am to 4:00 pm – Special activities for kids and kids at heart!  Video exhibit showcasing the national parks.

Tuesday, April 23 – Transportation Day at Park Visitor Center
9:00 am to 4:00 pm – Port Royal Railroad exhibit and National Parks video exhibit

Wednesday, April 24 – Darrah Hall at the historic Penn Center
10:00 am – Nature walk focusing on survival on the Sea Islands during Reconstruction

Thursday, April 25 – Park Visitor Center

9:00 am to 4:00 pm – National Parks video exhibit

Friday, April 26 – Park Visitor Center

10:00 am – Robert Smalls program and walk

12:00 pm – Robert Smalls program and walk

2:00 pm – Robert Smalls program and walk

Saturday, April 27 – Darrah Hall at the historic Penn Center

10:00 am – Reconstruction and the Sea Islands

11:00 am – Reconstruction and the Sea Islands

12:00 pm – Reconstruction and the Sea Islands

Beaufort Arts Council presents Harlem Renaissance “Afternoon of Jazz”

The Beaufort Arts Council announces its annual Harlem Renaissance “Afternoon of Jazz” event will be held January 27 at the Dataw Island Country Clubhouse. The event is the organization’s premier annual fundraiser and supports a range of educational programming and community activities for artists and schools in Beaufort County.

“The Harlem Renaissance era has had a strong influence on the musical, artistic and literary arts around the world,” said Beaufort Arts Council Chairman Jeff Shawd. “Celebrating this period is an excellent opportunity to highlight the mission of the organization, and to showcase the talents of visual artists, jazz musicians, singers, dancers, and literary artists around the county.”

This year’s event will feature a live music from some of the region’s top jazz musicians and singers performing popular jazz standards through the decades, as well as dance performances, literary readings, silent auction, and an afternoon brunch.

The event will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. To order tickets, go to:, or call 843-379-ARTS (2787). Ticket prices are $65 before January 10, and $75 after January 10.

About the Harlem Renaissance Era

Born in the 1920s and spanning the decades through the 1940s, the artistic and literary movement known as the Harlem Renaissance influenced the arts everywhere.  Legendary jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Fats Waller laid the foundation for future generations of musicians; the art of Aaron Douglas, Palmer Hayden and others celebrated their heritage; and major writers such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen laid bare their souls.

About the Beaufort Arts Council

Founded in 1991, the mission of the Beaufort Arts Council is to expand the presence of the arts in the daily experiences of residents and visitors, and to provide exposure to the local heritage, rich artistic legacy, and cultural uniqueness of our community.


What could be more fun than an old-fashioned country fair, filled to the brim with historical flair?  With the arrival of crisp fall air, the Santa Elena Foundation hosts the second annual Lowcountry Fair on Saturday, November 3 from 11 am to 5 pm at the beautiful, privately-owned Cotton Hall Plantation, only 5 miles from Interstate-95 in Northern Beaufort County.

It’s the perfect way for the entire family to spend a fall day in the Lowcountry! And the event is the host of the ONLY Marsh Tacky Horse Races in 2018!

With Hargray Communications and several other generous sponsors, plans are in place for a community event unlike any other! Moderately-priced tickets and family ticket packages allow visitors of all ages to enjoy special activities and events throughout the day at no extra cost. The fun, family-friendly atmosphere will showcase Marsh Tacky horses from around the region in obstacle courses, meet-and-greet areas and several racing heats.

 “At the end of the day, we will awarding a grand champion of the horse races, but with a great community event like this – everyone wins!” said Megan Morris, executive director of the Santa Elena History Center. “This fall’s Lowcountry Fair will be a stand-out event for the community to experience local heritage mixed in with plenty of good fun, food and friendship. This continues our efforts to highlight Beaufort County’s unique history and collaborate with others in the region.”

The events featuring the Marsh Tacky horse will be the perfect complement to other headline activities, like Living History. Across a 50-acre field, over 500 years of local history will be on display with historical re-enactors showing family life, living conditions, and times of war, sacrifice, and change. From 16th century colonial times when Santa Elena was founded by the Spanish, through the American Revolution, the Civil War/Reconstruction era and up to WWII — men, women and children will demonstrate history in period costume.  They will mingle with spectators, tell fascinating stories of life in days gone by, fire their weaponry, walk in a parade and engage visitors in fun, educational activities.

The most delicious local food concessions will be available for purchase throughout the day. Do you love oysters or barbecue? Why choose? Enjoy the day’s activities with a lowcountry lunch, a sweet treat, and perhaps even a local brewed beer or Spanish wine. Sip and see throughout the area with music playing and artisans displaying their original products from iron-welded signs, to local honey, and everything in between.

Children will also enjoy the exotic petting zoo, pony rides, and other fun activities. They can meet friends at the National Park Service and participate in a Junior Ranger program, or head over to see the critters brought by Coastal Discovery Museum, who have their own Marsh Tacky on site, named Comet.

And just when you think you’ve seen it all, follow a trail down to the plantation’s original operating sugar mill, still in use today. Enjoy a walk back in time to see how “sugar” was made in the antebellum South, thanks to the plantation owners who have preserved this art for decades and now welcome us to their home.


Tickets are available online ( and at the gate.

Patron Level ($100), General Admission ($20), Children 7-17 ($5)

Family Package (two Adults and 2+ Children)  — $50

Active Military Families (two adults and 2+ Children) — $40

Wednesday, September 12th from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

2nd Annual Heyward House benefit event hosted by the Spartina 449 Flagship Store.

Tickets for the event will be available for purchase at the Flagship Store located at 32 Calhoun Street for $5.00 and all ticket sales will benefit the Heyward House

Ticket holders will enjoy 15% off their entire purchase, light refreshments and will be entered for a chance to win great raffle prizes.

10% of all proceeds will benefit the Heyward House

Happy Birthday Santa Elena! Bring on the cake!

  The Santa Elena Foundation recognizes a special American birthday, when Santa Elena was named by early explorers.

On 18 August, 1526 – 492 years ago — two Spanish ships made their way into today’s “Port Royal Sound”, recorded cartographic data, and named our home “Santa Elena.”  The ships were a part of the short-lived “San Miguel de Gualdape” colonization attempt which made landfall near today’s Georgetown and migrated southward towards Georgia’s Sapelo Sound.  Named by the Spaniards in honor of Emperor Constantine’s mother, Santa Elena is said to be responsible for discovering the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, thus, is the patron saint of archaeologists.

By coincidence, and thanks to the stewardship of the US Marine Corps, the site of the colony of Santa Elena (1566-1587) on today’s Parris Island is the most pristine archaeological site of America’s Lost Century. The English derivation, “Saint Helena”, stands among the three oldest European place names in continual use in today’s “America.”

To commemorate the anniversary of this naming, birthday cake will be served at the Santa Elena History Center for those who visit and tour the exhibits that tell the history and discovery of Santa Elena.