Sag Harbor’s third annual Cultural Heritage Weekend begins on Friday, May 18 with this year’s theme being “Diversity, Adversity, and Change.” The weekend will highlight the cultural evolution that has transformed Sag Harbor over the last three centuries with a variety of activities, demonstrations, and performances. In its earlier years, Sag Harbor saw the boom and decline of the whaling industry, a blockade of its ports at the hands of British troops during the Revolutionary War, and three destructive fires. Since its settlement in 1730, though, much has changed and a prominent constant in the village has been change itself.
“We chose the theme because those three words — change, diversity and adversity — have been constants in the evolution of Sag Harbor, which was not only always comprised of a mix of races, religions and nationalities, but has also been through a series of ups and downs as the village continually reinvented itself over the last 300 plus years,” said Eric Cohen of the John Jermain Memorial Library. “We are proud of, and want to honor that history and those cultures that are part of our community.”
Attendees are encouraged to look at the schedule in advance and decide what they want to see, as there are so many events that unfortunately it is not possible to see them all. Some of the events also require prior registration. There will be activities at many locations throughout the village, including The Custom House Museum, Canio’s Cultural Cafe, the Annie Cooper Boyd House, the John Jermain Memorial Library, Temple Adas Israel, the Christ Episcopal Church, the Eastville Community Historical Society, and the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum.
Events include live music on early colonial instruments, guided tours of historic houses, museums and religious centers, a boat building demonstration, a marathon reading of John Steinbeck’s final novel, The Winter of Our Discontent, which was written while he lived in Sag Harbor, lectures, exhibits, rare film and picture viewings, and workshops for children.
To capture this year’s theme and highlight the diverse communities that have contributed to Sag Harbor’s history, there will be an event called “Tell Me a Story” in which Sag Harbor natives and transplants are encouraged to sign up and share their personal stories for a video recording, and to bring along a friend who can “interview” them. Prior registration is required.
With the John Jermain Memorial Library, The Sag Harbor Historical Society presents “Sag Harbor: Past and Present” with rare film clips and slides on Sunday, May 20, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. at the library. Both institutions aim to illustrate – through images – the cultural, architectural, and physical changes that have occurred. Following the presentation, Historical Society President Jack Youngs will lead a discussion addressing the development of Sag Harbor’s architecture and community.
Also at the library will be a workshop for children aged 7 to 11, in which they will explore their memories of a past Sag Harbor and visions for a future Sag Harbor through art, and an afternoon concert presented by The Sag Harbor American Music Festival with an artist who has yet to be announced. If the weather permits, the concert will be held outdoors in the library’s courtyard.
Cultural Heritage Weekend events will take place Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20.
For a full schedule of events and details such as times and locations, please visit the Cultural Heritage Weekend’s official Facebook page.