The 9th annual South Carolina Heritage and Humanities Festival will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Eutawville Community Center.
In addition to singing, cultural dances, student presentations, mini-speakers, vendor participation and theatrical performances, the festival will have a special guest as keynote speaker: former NFL football player Edward Simms, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles for five seasons. Simms is currently an entrepreneur living in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
“Not every day we get a chance to sit up close in the presence of a football celebrity and acquire inspiration from their successful paths in life and listen to incredible stories that changed their lives around in positive fashions. Attendees at the Heritage and Humanities Festival will no doubt leave inspired by Ed Simms’ humble, humorous and tenacious spirit as he imparts wisdom to all,” said Byron Brown, festival founder and organizer.
Of great importance this year, the festival will kick off with a celebration of the 100th birthday of Dr. Arthenia Jackson Bates Millican.. A Sumter native, she was an poet, short-story writer, essayist and educator whose published writings include the books, "Hills and Bottoms: Virginia Tales," “Seeds Beneath the Snow,” “The Deity Nodded” and “Such Things from the Valley.” Her nephew and publicist, Rick Jones of Portland, Oregon, will be in attendance to greet attendees.
Students from Howard University in Washington, D.C., will make presentations on the noted South Carolina author, offering insight on the work they studied.
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Melanie Colclough, director of the Sumter County Cultural Center, will also be in attendance to archive the historical event of celebrating Millican’s birthday.
The theme for this year’s festival is “Vision 2020: Focusing on Unity through Self-Reflection and Personal Growth.”
With this theme in mind, Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell will offer opening remarks.
“Given the high level of crimes occurring in Eutawville, what was once a peaceful, congenial and quiet family-oriented town, Sheriff Ravenell will offer hope to restore Eutawville back to its pleasant and graceful image while encouraging others statewide to not take the law into their own hands but consult authorities in times of conflict,” Brown said.
On the local level, Herbert Sellers will provide the audience with a rich background of the history of the small town of Eutawville. Welcome letters from Gov. Henry McMaster and Congressman James Clyburn will be shared with those in attendance.
“Through the many diverse vendors, actors, presenters, singers and speakers, I believe that the festival will meet its goal and celebrate its motto, which is simply ‘to inspire all for a better life,’” Brown said.