Cumberland Island plans yearlong birthday celebration

·2 min read

Sep. 23—Cumberland Island National Seashore is preparing to commemorate its 50th anniversary with a year-long series of events beginning Oct. 1 at the St. Marys Seafood Festival.

The kickoff event, in partnership with the city of St. Marys and Kiwanis Club, begins with a parade with a Cumberland Island theme starting at 10 a.m. at the seafood festival.

At the end of the parade, more activities are planned on the St. Marys waterfront starting at 11:15 a.m. at Howard Gilman Waterfront Park.

The First Coast Highlanders' pipe and drum band, the Camden County High School Junior Navy ROTC and premiere Volume One choir will welcome guests.

Formal remarks by dignitaries will begin at noon followed by the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters at 12:30 p.m.

The program will conclude at 1:30 p.m. with a musket firing by living history demonstrators from Fort Frederica National Monument and the 42nd Regiment of Foot and Clan Nan Con, a highlanders' regiment from Darien.

Visitors are invited to participate in activities at the National Park Service Visitor Center from noon to 4 p.m., and enjoy the arts and crafts booths, food vendors and exhibits at the daylong seafood festival.

Other events are planned during the 12-month observance, including a speaker series, a special holiday tour of Plum Orchard Mansion and new on-island interpretive programming.

"We invite everyone to come and help us celebrate Cumberland Island National Seashore's 50th Anniversary on Oct. 1," said Gary Ingram, superintendent of the national seashore. "This is a special day that will start a series of events to help us commemorate the founding of the park."

The 17.5-mile-long barrier island was established as a national seashore on Oct. 23, 1972. The effort to get Cumberland designated was in response to a developer who was buying property from Carnegie family heirs, who owned most of the land on the island, with plans to develop it similar to Hilton Head, S.C.