DAUFUSKIE FESTIVAL PUTS GULLAH CULTURE FRONT AND CENTER

The flavors of Daufuskie Island will be on full display in October during a celebration of Gullah cuisine and culture. 

Vibes & Tides, to be held Oct. 18-20 and sponsored by Haig Point, will benefit the Haig Point Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on preserving the island’s green spaces, encouraging community enhancements, and promoting Daufuskie’s historical significance. 

And the small island sure has a history. Daufuskie — located off the coasts of Hilton Head Island and Savannah and accessible only by boat — was once home to antebellum mansions, cared for by enslaved people from West Africa. 

After the Civil War, many members of the Gullah community made their homes on Daufuskie, and their language, culture and traditions thrived thanks in part to the island’s isolation. Daufuskie’s Gullah heritage has led to its inclusion in the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, which spans from coastal North Carolina to Florida. 

That culture will be on display during Vibes & Tides, which kicks off Oct. 18 with a welcome reception featuring specialty cocktails and “seacuterie” prepared by the Haig Point culinary team. Afterward, enjoy “Beach Vibes” with live music, wine and beer tastings and Southern dishes by chefs like Andrew Carmines of Hudson’s Seafood House On the Docks, Clayton Rollison of Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar, Orchid Paulmeier of One Hot Mama’s, Tim Nelson of the Whiskey Room and CharBar, Taylor Griffin and Ian Gordon of Haig Point, and Brandon Carter of FARM Bluffton. 

Daufuskie native and cookbook author Sallie Ann Robinson and Gullah/Geechee chefs Roosevelt Brownlee, Benjamin Dennis and Matthew Raiford will be the stars of Oct. 19’s five-course “Heaven Blue Dinner,” as well as Grammy Award- and Tony Award-winning opera singer Alexander Smalls and Mashama Bailey, executive chef and partner at The Grey in Savannah. Other events that day include horseback riding on the beach, an ecology boat tour of the May River, and an indigo dyeing lesson — indigo was an important cash crop in the Lowcountry centuries ago. 

The event culminates Oct. 20 with “Brunch Before the Boat,” served on the tabby lawn, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

IF YOU GO

All-inclusive weekend tickets include round-trip private passenger ferry for each event, departing from Hilton Head Island at the Haig Point Welcome Center and Embarkation at 10 Haig Point Court and arriving at Haig Point’s Landing on Daufuskie Island; on-island transportation to and from event venues; swag bag and souvenir glassware; autographed cookbooks from Alexander Smalls and Sallie Ann Robinson; live entertainment; meet-and-greet opportunities with celebrity chefs; and access to the private community of Haig Point. 

Individual tickets are available to the Oct. 18 welcome reception, the Oct. 19 “Heaven Blue Dinner,” and the Oct. 20 “Brunch Before the Boat.” 

Festivalgoers must be 21 or older. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.daufuskieislandvibesandtides.com.