Zora Fest! Activities Bring Out
Authors, Artists, Performers and Books
She was known as the Queen of the Harlem Renaissance and one of the most prolific black female writers of the 20th century. She spent her final years in Fort Pierce and continues to be honored and recognized for her literary achievements.
She is the late author, anthropologist and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, known for her most famous book, Their Eyes Were Watching God and for her autobiography, Dust Tracks on the Road. Through several grants and the Federal Writers Project, Hurston captured oral histories of the black culture and even put songs on tape to make sure they were saved for future generations, and all stored in the Library of Congress.
To honor those traditions and keep the achievements going, the Zora Neale Hurston Florida Education Foundation will be hosting authors, actors, vendors, special guests and Zora’s niece, Lucy Anne Hurston for the annual Zora Fest! with the theme of The Collection: Celebrating Zora’s Writings.
Kicking off a variety of activities will be The RENT Party on Friday, March 1, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the St. Lucie County Regional History Center, 414 Seaway Drive on the east side of the South Bridge. Admission is FREE with donations accepted. A Southern dinner will be served.
On Friday, March 8, actress Karen Stephens will perform a one-woman show, Loquacious and Bodacious, the Life and Times of Zora Neale Hurston. Written by the late Bhetty Waldron of West Palm Beach, Stephens will perform the show at Indian River State College Black Box Theatre in Fort Pierce. Admission is FREE. Seating is limited. RSVP at (772) 971-1744.
Programs and student performance are available for all ages at the festival event – Zora Fest! – on Saturday, March 9 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. at Lincoln Park Academy, 1806 Avenue I in Fort Pierce. Vendors, performers, authors, and performers will be on hand throughout the day. The Fort Pierce Jazz and Blues Society will perform at 4 p.m.. Admission is FREE.
Among the activities, the Friends of the Library will distribute books to area children, while middle school and high school students will perform on an outside stage with music presentations, drum bands, steppers and more. The St. Lucie County Health Department will be available for health screenings and TDBank is presenting information for children about learning to save money. Throughout the afternoon, trolley tours will be provided on the Hurston Dust Tracks Trail, including a stop at her house and at the gravesite.
On Sunday, March 10, the Authors Brunch will feature Lucy Anne Hurston, Hurston’s niece. Two professors will discuss their work on Hurston from her early years to her more recent years in Fort Pierce. The brunch is $35 per person at Granny’s Kitchen, 901 Avenue D in Fort Pierce. Seating is limited and reservations should be made by calling (772) 971-1744.
Indian River State College English teacher Marvin Hobson will discuss the Zora Neale Hurston Endowed Chair and its related student programs for writing across the curriculum, which will encourage students to read about Hurston and write essays, poems and other literary formats.
Rollins College professor Maurice O’Sullivan will discuss his research on Hurston from the 1930s and the relationship between Hurston and Rollins College. He is an historian and literary scholar who specializes in the history of Florida. Professor O’Sullivan presented Zora’s life in Florida as part of an African-American studies program known as Project Mosaic.
Several authors will have books on hand for purchase and signed copies: Lynn Moylan, author of Zora Neale Hurston’s Final Decade and Lucy Anne Hurston, author of Speak, So You Can Speak Again.
For additional information, check out a rundown of activities at www.zorafest.org or call Foundation Chair Linda Henderson at (772) 971-1744 for reservations for the Authors Brunch and other activities.