Philipsburg Manor to Celebrate Pinkster on Saturday, May 18

African drumming and dancing highlight celebration of oldest African American holiday

Image: Courtesy CG Partners

Drumming, dancing, a reading from celebrated author Michael Twitty, an interactive documentary and movie screenings are just some of the exciting happenings at Celebrate Pinkster at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, NY, on Saturday, May 18, from 10am-5pm.

At this lively celebration of this historic cross-cultural holiday, visitors can learn some new dance steps, watch a parade, listen to theatrical retellings of traditional African folktales, and get swept up in the rhythms of the drums in all-day performances.

Noted culinary and cultural historian Michael Twitty, author of The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South and winner of the 2018 James Beard Foundation Book Award, will be featured at the event, discussing his writing and signing copies of his book. The book will be available for purchase on site.

New this year, visitors can spend time exploring the People Not Property: Stories of Slavery in the Colonial North, a groundbreaking interactive documentary from Historic Hudson Valley, in the Philipsburg Manor Visitor Center. A Discovery Station will allow visitors to explore this digital resource, which reveals the history of Northern slavery through the stories of the enslaved individuals at Philipsburg Manor and beyond. The website features original videos, including interviews with scholars and civil rights activists and reenactments, as well hundreds of historical documents that help piece together this long-buried history. The Visitor Center’s Theater will host special showings of the short dramatic film Runaway, which was filmed on-site at Philipsburg Manor and based on a historic event.

Philipsburg Manor’s Celebrate Pinkster is a rousing re-creation of the joyous historic holiday celebrating the arrival of spring. For the African community riven by enslavement, it was a profound opportunity for family members and friends, many of whom were split off and spread out from each other, to come together. As in historic Pinkster celebrations, two “Grand Events” will mark the day. The first is the Pinkster Parade and the Game of Lies. After this elaborate ceremony of matching wits, the community crowns the Pinkster King. Later in the afternoon, the Election takes place, which names the Pinkster Regent, who will be the King for the following year.

Music will fill the day, including African drumming and musical demonstrations directed by Master Drummer Neil Clarke, and performances by Ghanaian native Maxwell Kofi Donkor (drums), Muhamadou Salieu Suso (kora), and Henrique Prince (fiddle).

Additional activities include storytelling by Joy Kelly and African colonial dance by Judith Samuel and the Children of Dahomey.

Online admission is $14 for adults; $12 for seniors; $8 for children 3-17; and free for children under 3 and Historic Hudson Valley members. Prices are $2 more per ticket when purchased on site or by phone.
For more information call 914-366-6900 or visit


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