Sucarnochee Folklife Festival Celebrates Sumter County’s Cultural Legacy

Livingston, Ala. – The Sucarnochee Folklife Festival returns to the Livingston Courthouse Square on Saturday, April 20, for a celebration of the arts and community.

“In gathering artisans, storytellers, and musicians in one place, this year’s festival recognizes the rich, cultural legacy of Sumter County and Alabama’s Black Belt,” said Dr. Tina Naremore Jones, chairperson of the Sucarnochee Folklife Festival Committee.

This year’s festival pays homage to Ruby Pickens Tartt, a 1980s Alabama Womens’ Hall of Fame inductee known for her writing, painting and collection of local folklore. The public library in Livingston bears her name as she was the county’s first public librarian.       

“The songs, stories and voices from Sumter County were recorded in the 1930s and 40s by local folklorist Ruby Pickens Tartt through her work with the Works Progress Administration and the Library of Congress,”  Jones said.  “2024 marks the 50th anniversary of Mrs. Tartt’s death, so we felt it only fitting to honor her work at this year’s event.”

Local potters, basketmakers, a blacksmith, beekeeper and more will be featured demonstrators, allowing visitors to not only purchase handmade items, but watch and participate in the creative process. A live stage will feature local music, storytelling and tribute to Ruby Picken Tartt by UWA Theatre students.   

This year’s festival is made possible by the generous support of sponsors that include the UWA’s Center for the Study of the Black Belt & the Black Belt Museum, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the City of Livingston, the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, the Sumter County Commission and the Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area.

Jones also noted the invaluable contributions of UWA’s Department of Communication & Creative Arts and the University Charter School in programming and promotion. A 5k run will be sponsored by the University Charter School’s Cross Country Team.    

The festival is open to the public at no cost. Everyone is invited to join in the celebration of Sumter County’s vibrant culture, where traditions are honored, stories are shared, and music fills the air.

For more information, go to Facebook “Alabama Black Belt Heritage Area”  and “Center for the Study for the Black Belt” for updates. For questions about vendors, email [email protected] or call (205)652-3828.