Little drummer boy Kwanzaa

A young boy watches other drummers during the Kwanzaa Kids Village celebration at the Arthur W. Christopher Community Center. This year's Kwanzaa events begin today. Lauren Petracca/Staff

Christmas is over, Hanukkah started this past weekend and it is now time for Kwanzaa to begin. Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits” in Swahili, is a commemoration of the strength, courage and endurance of the forefathers from Africa who paved the way of freedom for generations. It is a seven-day observance of the seven principles, the “Nguzo Saba,” which are the seven ideals and values of African culture meant to build the community.

The City of Charleston, in conjunction with Low Country Kwanzaa, will present an event every day for each of the seven principles:

Unity (Umoja): Reclamation service. 6-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26, Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 2416 Meeting Street Road, North Charleston

Self-Determination (Kujichagulia): Multifaceted community program and discussions on the Ta Seti Dynasty African American study group. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, Arthur Christopher Community Center, 265 Fishburne St., downtown Charleston

Kwanzaa dancer and drummer

Azaria Richardson, 12, dances during the Kwanzaa Kids Village celebration at the Arthur W. Christopher Community Center. Lauren Petracca/Staff

Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima): Kwanzaa Kids Village. Noon-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 28, Arthur Christopher Community Center, 265 Fishburne St., downtown Charleston

Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa): Multifaceted community program presented by the Tri-County Black Nurses Association. 4-8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 29, Arthur Christopher Community Center, 265 Fishburne St., downtown Charleston

Gullah Geechee Angel Network will host a special Ujamaa event, 6-9 p.m. Sunday Dec. 29, East Cooper Disco, 1162 Venning Road, Mount Pleasant

Purpose (Nia): Kwanzaa celebration with Black Starz Collection. 7-9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30, Central Station, 1418 Remount Road, North Charleston

Kwanzaa little girl drummer

Malia White, 5, drums on a djembe during the Kwanzaa Kids Village celebration at the Arthur W. Christopher Community Center. Lauren Petracca/Staff

Creativity (Kuumba): Kwanzaa Creative Kids Talent Show. 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, Midland Park, 2429 Midland Park Road, North Charleston

Faith (Imani): Annual Remembrance Day at the sacred burial site of African ancestors at McLeod Plantation with the Original Kwanzaa Planning Committee members of the Yoruba African Village. Noon-2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 1, McLeod Plantation, 325 Country Club Drive, James Island

The Original Kwanzaa Planning Committee members of the Yoruba African Village and the Charleston Alliance Dance Company will present another Imani event, the Karamu Festival & Vendor Market. 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 1, Karamu Festival & Vendor Mart at the Ferndale Gym in North Charleston.

Additional details can be found at

Kwanzaa girl dancing

Nine-year-old Sarai Brown from the Denninufay Dance Troop performs during a previous Kwanzaa celebration.File/Chris Hanclosky

The annual Gullah Geechee Kwanzaa celebration on Friday and Saturday at the Cannon Street Arts Center is free and open to the public, featuring the teaching of the seven principles and the history of Kwanzaa — in particular, the celebration of Umoja (Unity) and Kujichagula (Self-Determination). In addition, Chitenia Jamison of Imperial Kingz and Queenz will lead African drum and dance classes, Dr. Ade Ofunniyin of The Gullah Society will lead a naming ceremony and a storytelling session, Quadre Stuckey will lead art classes and provide face painting, and there also will be healthy eating workshop and demos (with samples!). Attendees are encouraged to bring fruits to this celebration. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 26-27; Cannon Street Arts Center, 134 Cannon St., downtown Charleston;

Family-friendly NYE

Noon Year's Eve boy confetti vertical Children's Museum of the Lowcountry provided

Celebrate New Year's Eve with the family at these Charleston events. 

The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry will host its annual Noon-Year’s Eve on Tuesday afternoon, the perfect opportunity for the wee ones to take part in the celebration of the coming year without having to stay awake until midnight. There will be a ball drop at noon and the raining down of confetti (biodegradable, of course). Play time and arts and crafts time will take place before the ball drop. Think about it, you and the kids both will get home in time for an afternoon nap.

WHEN: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 31

WHERE: Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, 25 Ann St., downtown Charleston

PRICE: Free with general admission or membership

MORE INFO: 843-853-8962,

NYE tree at Marion Square girl inside Wade Spees

Celebrate a family-friendly New Year's Eve at Marion Square. File

Happy New Year, Charleston! will be presented by the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs in Marion Square on Tuesday afternoon and into the evening. Musical entertainment includes pop favorites from the Electric Trio of Classical Charleston, kid-friendly sing-alongs with John Cusatis and DJ Brandon Curbow during the evening light show from TEC/Technical Event Company. Additional entertainment will feature balloon artists, roving jugglers, magic shows and a “Light Bright Row,” as well as a photo booth and “crazy hat station.”

WHEN: 4-9 p.m. Dec. 31

WHERE: Marion Square, 329 Meeting St., downtown Charleston


MORE INFO: 843-724-7305

Flip Flop Drop (copy)

The Flip-Flop Drop is back again to celebrate the new year. File/Provided

Off the peninsula, families can head to the Folly Beach Flip-Flop Drop a little later on Tuesday night. The giant, sparkly flip-flops will count down to midnight, followed by a fireworks display on the beach at 3rd W. Street. Make plans to grab dinner at one of the many Folly restaurant venues beforehand, and there will be family-friendly activities and live music along Center Street before the drop. Center Street will be closed to traffic from Huron to Ashley Avenue for the reveling.

WHEN: 10 p.m. Dec. 31

WHERE: Center St., Folly Beach



Freedom’s Eve, Emancipation Day Parade

Emancipation Proclamation parade Stanley Johnson, center, and fellow Elks. down King Street, Wade Spees 2015

The Emancipation Proclamation Parade will make its way down King street. File/Staff

On Tuesday, the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission will host a Watch Night and Emancipation Proclamation celebration at Morris Brown AME Church. The annual tradition commemorates January 1, 1863, when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and declared the freedom of enslaved people in the Confederate states, hence the name, “Freedom’s Eve.” The Watch Night worship service will showcase the Gullah Geechee heritage and culture, with performances from Ann Caldwell & The Magnolia Singers, the Woma Wamalan African Dance Company, poet Yvette Murray and liturgical dance Doris Freeman. A citywide choir comprised of our historic African American Episcopal churches will present traditional, sacred Gullah Geechee music.

WHEN: Noon-2 p.m. Dec. 31

WHERE: Morris Brown AME Church, 13 Morris St., downtown Charleston

PRICE: Free and open to the public


The Emancipation Proclamation Day Parade on Wednesday, presented by the Emancipation Proclamation Association will begin at Burke High School on Fishburne Street, head east to Ashley Avenue, north to Sumter Street, east to King Street and Marion Square, then to Calhoun Street, ending at Emanuel AME Church, the first independent African American denomination in the country. Following the parade will be a special church service at Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston. Charleston held its first Emancipation Day Parade in 1866, and the annual tradition has continued in commemoration and tribute.

WHEN: 11 a.m. Jan. 1

WHERE: Burke High School to Emanuel AME Church, downtown Charleston


Polar Plunges

Dunleavy's Polar Plunge drone provided

The Dunleavy's Polar Plunge takes place again this year on Jan. 1. Provided

It takes a certain kind of person to get up early on New Year’s Day, head to the beach, strip down to some bare essentials, and then take off running for the ocean. I’m not necessarily that kind of person, but I definitely encourage those of you who are. The tradition continues with the Dunleavy’s Pub Polar Plunge on Wednesday, an annual fundraiser for Special Olympics South Carolina. The pub will open early, but plan for a fun and busy morning along Middle Street until it’s time to head to the sand around 1:30 p.m. – plunging will begin at approximately 2 p.m. Attendees are asked to “dress to impress,” so do with that what y’all will. Dogs are permitted but must be leashed at all times, in accordance with the town’s ordinance.

WHEN: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. pre-plunge warm-up Jan. 1

WHERE: Dunleavy’s Pub, 2213 Middle St., Sullivan’s Island

PRICE: Free to attend, but donation buckets will be passed around


Folly Beach Bill Murray Polar Plunge

The Bill Murray look-a-like polar plunge takes place on Jan. 1. Marie Rodriguez/Special to The Post and Courier.

For those of you that prefer to sleep in a little bit, you can “Freeze Your Bills Off” a little later on Wednesday for the annual Bill Murray Look-a-Like Polar Bear Plunge on Folly Beach. This year’s theme is “Ghostbusters” and will include a costume contest with multiple categories, commemorative tees and more. Folly bars and restaurants will be ready to serve, but remember that you should wait 30 minutes after you eat to swim, so as not to get a cramp.

WHEN: 1-4 p.m. Jan. 1

WHERE: Beachside at Tides Hotel, 1 Center St., Folly Beach

PRICE: Free to plunge; $5 to enter costume contest


Jump, Dogs!

JLC July 2018-193.jpg (copy) (copy) (copy)

Jump, Little Children members include Evan Bivins (from left), Jonathan Gray, Jay Clifford, Ward Williams and Matt Bivins. File/Provided

Charleston group Jump, Little Children was referred to by a colleague as a band that “produces an eclectic blend of Irish music, alt-rock and chamber pop by players who blossomed in the 1990s in the Holy City.” I can’t necessarily disagree, as I used to listen to them in little venues along King Street when I was supposed to be studying for college exams. “The Licorice Tea Demos” is still one of my favorite albums to listen to on a road trip.

Jump played for a decade, took a decade off, quite quickly sold out some reunion and anniversary shows around town, got back together again and recorded “Sparrow” in 2018 and as recently as Dec. 10, they were honored by U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) when he entered them into the congressional record, calling them “one of the greatest musical acts to ever come out of Charleston.” Not too shabby! Well, the boys are back for a special evening at the Charleston Music Hall on Friday. Some special guests are expected, those that hark back to the band’s days performing at the Dock Street Theatre. Sure, there will be songs from the latest album, but expect some dips into the old-school repertoire, spanning back over almost 30 years of remarkable music.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Dec. 27

WHERE: Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St., downtown Charleston

PRICE: $35-$45

MORE INFO: 843-853-2252,

Side note: Jump also will perform a special show at the Queen Street Playhouse on Saturday, where they will play their albums “Vertigo” and “Between the Dim & the Dark” in their entirety.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Dec. 28

WHERE: Queen Street Playhouse, 20 Queen St., downtown Charleston

PRICE: $100


Blue Dogs 2019 provided

The Blue Dogs are performing at the Charleston Music Hall. 

Also familiar with three decades of music and love from the locals, roots-rock band The Blue Dogs will return to the Charleston Music Hall on Sunday for the annual benefit concert for pediatric cancer research at MUSC Children’s Health. They will be joined by the likes of Travis Allison, Charlie Thompson and others, but some very special guests this year include dobro master Jerry Douglas (Alison Krauss & Union Station), Greg Humphreys (Dillon Fence, Hobex), David Ezell, singer Fayssoux Starling McLean, local Mitchell Lee (Southwood, “The Voice”) and Sean Kelly. This is their seventh annual homecoming concert and will be the 31st anniversary celebration, presented by Ear for Music.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Dec. 29

WHERE: Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St., downtown Charleston

PRICE: $25-$60; $125 VIP

MORE INFO: 843-853-2252,

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Reach Liz Foster at 843-937-5581. Follow her on Twitter @TheDizzyLizzieB

Senior news clerk and staff writer Liz Foster joined The Post and Courier team in 2012 and, among other things, compiles events and writes the My Charleston Weekend column for Charleston Scene.