Seafood, soul food, jazz and gospel music and more top the growing list of things you can find at the fourth annual Pin Point Seafood Festival on Sept. 17.
The event, set for 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 9992 Pin Point Ave., is produced by Sweetfield of Eden Baptist Church. The Bishop Thomas J. Sills says the Pin Point Seafood Festival was "created to highlight the rich history of Pin Point while allowing you to taste the seafood dishes that have been passed down through the generations."
"A majority of the food is prepared by the descendants of freed slaves that moved to Pin Point many, many years ago," Sills explains. "The festival showcases the historical taste of Pin Point, and most of the people that will be out there that day cooking are literally cooking from the recipes that were passed down over many generations."
Tickets at the gate are $5 for the festival or you can purchase a $10 ticket that includes entrance to the festival and the nearby Pin Point Heritage Museum.
Sills says once guests pay the $5 entry fee for the festival, they can go to the ticket booth to purchase tickets for the food. Each ticket is $1 and prices for food items range from $2 to as much as $24.
Dishes range from Lowcountry boil to fried shrimp, fried fish, smothered shrimp and grits, shrimp po' boys, triple seafood burgers, lobster seafood salad, okra seafood gumbo, deviled crab and more. Sills says there is also a range of soul food items as well.
"Ain't too much that won't be on the property that day," he says, adding that the serving sizes are large portions.
Sills says he has been with Sweetfield of Eden Baptist Church for 18 years and when he noticed the Pin Point area was beginning to gain national notoriety several years ago, he wanted to start a festival that would be the church's contribution to telling the history of the close-knit community.
In addition to telling their story, the festival also serves as way to highlight a local charity. This year's featured charity is Fathers Mentoring Sons, a mentoring program in Savannah that Sills started about a year ago to help local youth.
In addition to the great food, the festival also features live entertainment and children's activities.
"We will start the day with gospel music and then we'll have some jazz with Huxsie Scott and then we'll close out the day with a little old-school R&B, pop and a little country."
Sills adds that each festival gives the group a chance to also highlight a historical figure from Pin Point and this year's event will spotlight Leola Williams, mother of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
"We have her picture on the T-shirts, but it's just a photo of her hands picking crabs; that's what she did at the Pin Point (Oyster and) Crab Factory," he says.
And despite the community's small size, the festival draws thousands of visitors each year.
"We are literally growing by leaps and bounds," says Sills. "That's what's amazing to me. The first year we did it, I didn't know if anyone was coming ... and we had 1,200 people and it blew my mind."
Last year saw about 3,000 people and the line at the gate began forming before 10 a.m.
"They come and they stay ... They don't grab food and leave; they stay for hours. It's a family environment ... I do love this event because it's authentic Pin Point ... passed down four or five generations."