18th Annual Kingsley Heritage Celebration

275-KINGSLEY-HERITAGEThe National Park Service invites all Historic City News readers to the 18th Annual Kingsley Heritage Celebration to be held the last two Saturdays in February.

This year’s event celebrates the “Centennial of the National Park Service”. All events are free and open to the public.

Featured performances on the afternoon of Saturday February 20th are the African Caribbean Dance Theatre, Inc., a Tallahassee-based cultural education organization and Donna Kokumo Buie (Mama Koku) a Master Storyteller and children’s writer. These performances are full of energy, rhythm and captivate the imagination.

In the morning, park rangers and staff will have many activities scheduled to make it an enjoyable day for families; there will be a Kid’s Corner that will engage kids in activities to celebrate the Centennial, guided tours of the Kingsley House and ranger talks at the slave cabins.

On Saturday, February 27th the past will come alive as living historians will portray the many different time periods of Fort George Island and Florida’s history. See demonstrations of the activities that were part of this once active agricultural plantation. Hear about Sea Island cotton, the main crop grown at Kingsley and see the intensive tedious labor necessary to gin the cotton. Follow the steps cotton takes in its journey from the fields to the dyed cloth woven from its fibers.

Surrounded by ancient live oaks and stately palms, Kingsley Plantation overlooks the Fort George River on Fort George Island in the Timucuan Preserve. The rich and diverse history of the plantation includes the story of wealthy English planter Zephaniah Kingsley and his wife Anna Madgigine Jai, who was born in west Africa and was purchased by Kingsley as a slave. The history also includes the stories of the men, women, and children who struggled to survive enslavement.
Zephaniah Kingsley owned and operated the plantation on the island during the early part of the nineteenth century. Visitors are encouraged to visit the grounds that include the original plantation house, kitchen house, barn, and the remains of 25 tabby slave houses.

Located off Heckscher Drive/A1A one-half mile north of the St. Johns River ferry landing, Kingsley Plantation is open daily, at no charge, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. For more information, call 904.251.3537, or on the web visit NPS.gov/timu, where you can access full text press release and detailed biographies of the presenters and performers.

Detailed Schedule of Events

Saturday, February 20, 2016: Centennial Celebration!

10:00am until 12:30pm – Kids Corner will feature activities celebrating the National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary. Rangers and staff will also give guided tours of the Kingsley House and talks at the slave cabins.

1:00pm—African Caribbean Dance Theater. The African Caribbean Dance Theatre, Inc., a Tallahassee-based cultural education organization, has for the past 23 years wowed audiences with its pulsating and energizing performances at inaugural events, festivals, concerts, weddings and other special occasions throughout the Southeast. The company’s year-round schedule of African dance and drum classes serve as the training ground for youth and adults to keep these cultural traditions alive.

2:00pm—Donna Kokumo Buie, known as Mama Koku, is a Master Storyteller and children’s writer. She is also an educator who has taught children at all age levels, from pre-school to high school. Mama Koku was the Official Teller for the National Black Arts Festival’s Children’s Educational Village for several years while hosted by the Woodruff Arts Center and Centennial Olympic Park. She was also a roster artist for Woodruff Arts Center’s Arts for Learning (formerly Young Audiences).

Saturday, February 27, 2016: History Alive!

10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. – Fort George Island, home to Kingsley Plantation holds a long a varied history. On February 27th visitors get a chance to explore that history as the timeline of Ft. George Island comes to life. Living history demonstrations will portray milestones from the past. From the Spanish Mission through the Roaring Twenties and every era in between, this event promises something for one and all. Park rangers and volunteers in period costumes will demonstrate various tasks involved in the operation of a large plantation. Demonstrations will include cooking, spinning, weaving, dyeing with indigo, woodworking, and gardening.

Throughout the year, the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is honoring the creation of the National Park Service and looking forward to the next 100 years. The park is planning special events, programs, volunteer opportunities, and more to commemorate this milestone.

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