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Contact: Susie Sernaker
Contact: Emily Palmer
Jacksonville, FL—The National Park Service invites the public to the 19th Annual Kingsley Heritage Celebration during the last two Saturdays in February. This free family-friendly event will engage audiences young and old with music, dance and other performances on the 18th and then on the 25th transport visitors back in time across five centuries through a living history festival.
Performing on February 18th at this year’s celebration are Nan Nkama Pan-African Drum and Dance Ensemble, storyteller Cynthia Watts, and kora player Ajamu Mutima. In the morning, a special Kids Corner will feature crafts and activities from our park partners. Tours of the Planter’s House will be available from 10:30 to 1:00 on a rotating basis.
On February 25th from 10am to 3pm a living history timeline will transport visitors through the history of Fort George Island. Starting with the Spanish mission San Juan del Puerto, British Fort St. George, and the Plantation era, as well as the Roaring Twenties, take an interactive trip through the past. Families can try their hands at candlemaking, writing with quill and ink, making children’s toys, dressing up in the clothing of the past, and so much more. Demonstrations of muskets from the 16th through 19th century will occur throughout the day.
This event is free and open to the public.
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.
Detailed Schedule of Events
Saturday, February 18, 2017: Celebrate!
10:00 am -1:00 pm- Park rangers and volunteers will lead tours of the Planters Home until the performances begin.
10:00 am- 1:00 pm- In the Kids’ Corner rangers will work with kids on several plantation period crafts; Senegalese sand art, weaving paper, and making a bead bracelet. Rangers will discuss the archaeology of the area, in particular the historic beads that were found in the slave cabins. The crafts will teach kids about the rich cultural history of the plantation period. Members of the Florida State Park Service and the Timucuan Parks Foundation will also offer activities and educational opportunities.
1:00 pm- Performances begin with Nan Nkama Pan-African Drum and Dance Ensemble, a Jacksonville based dance, drum, and performance troupe with a concentration in West African (Mande) music, dance and culture. Majority of rhythms performed by the group come from Guinea, Mali, and Senegal.
1:45 pm- Cynthia Watts first heard stories from her grandmother and great great aunt. Cynthia is now a touring storyteller, who features stories from the African diaspora, which share universal truths, with the goal of entertaining, educating, and exalting the human spirit.
2:20 pm- Ajamu Mutima is a self-taught master of the Kora, a twenty-one stringed instrument originating in Senegal widely used by griots. He enthralls audiences with his poetry, storytelling and original songs.
Saturday, February 25, 2017: Timeline Alive!
10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. - Fort George Island, home to Kingsley Plantation holds a long a varied history. Visitors will have a chance to explore the rich timeline of the historic island by participating in hands-on activities and games. From the Spanish Mission period through the Roaring Twenties and every era in-between, this event promises something for everyone. 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, blacksmithing, woodworking, gardening, and musket firing. Also, on the island park neighbor the St. George Episcopal Church will offer tours of their historic building and have BBQ lunches for sale in their courtyard.
For more information, please call Kingsley Plantation at (904) 251-3537.