Monthly Archives: February 2020

Local Tradition Continues with the Santa Elena Regatta

2/27/2020 – The Santa Elena Foundation and the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club will sponsor the Santa Elena Regatta on April 3rd, 4th, & 5th. This event is the major big boat sailing event in Beaufort each year and commemorates 453 years since the founding of Santa Elena on Parris Island in the spring of 1566.

This Regatta is a combination of the Jean Ribault Cup which will be sailed on April 4th, and the Pedro Menendez Cup on April 5th. The Ribault and Menendez Cups are sailed as separate events and the results from them will be combined to determine the winner of the Santa Elena Regatta and the recipient of the Founder’s Cup.

The Founder’s Cup trophy is unique and quite an honor for the winner. Their name will be etched on the base of a bronze statue of Pedro Menendez, Santa Elena founder, which was donated by Count Alvaro Armada of Spain, the 20th generation descendent of Menendez.
Geography not only plays a major role in the historical references but also in the race logistics. The plan is for the Ribault Cup to be sailed in Port Royal Sound and the Menendez Cup in the Beaufort River starting at the Waterfront Park.

“What a great partnership. The Regatta is a wonderful tradition for the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club and, now, the Santa Elena Foundation,” says Megan Morris, Foundation Director. “Its significance is further realized as we think back 450+ years ago… when earliest European settlers too sailed into Port Royal Sound to establish their settlements in the New World.”

The Regatta is open to boats that are at least 22’ LOA. Boats that are 18’ LOA and over will be considered on a case by case basis. Trophies will be awarded for both the Ribault and Menendez Cups as well as to the overall winner of the Santa Elena Regatta.

There will be several social events associated with the Regatta including a kickoff Skippers Meeting and cocktail party on Friday night before the racing starts, an Awards Dinner on Saturday night and an Awards Presentation on Sunday after the racing is over. All social events will take place at the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club.
Full details of the Regatta are in the Notice of Race which can be found on the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club web site at or by contacting Regatta Chairman, Jim Thomas through the Beaufort Yacht & Sailing Club.

Santa Elena manuscript with new research, insights in progress

2/25/20 – At the close of her special lecture at the Santa Elena History Center yesterday, Dr. Karen Paar, of Mars Hill University, signed an agreement to write a book-length manuscript on the significant story of Santa Elena from the perspective of the settlers who lived at America’s first capital in the 16th century.

Building on her research over the past 20 years, Dr. Paar will consult both primary and secondary resources to produce a cohesive and accurate portrayal of this history. She one of a few translators of 16th century Spanish and has extensively studied the Archives of the Indies.

“The goal of this book is to provide a scholarly sound, but readable, account of the history of Santa Elena and its significance for understanding the region’s history,” says Dr. Paar.
“Furthermore, I hope this book will be the launching point for further historical research and that archaeologists will find it helpful as they continue investigation into the Charlesfort-Santa Elena site on Parris Island.”

The Santa Elena Foundation recognizes great value in the work of Dr. Paar and this project, which will meet all three key elements of its mission — to discover, promote, and preserve the first century of American history through the lens of Santa Elena. The manuscript will shed new light on three important perspectives of the history– the role of conquest in America’s development, the role of women in colonization, and the depth of engagement and disruption of the indigenous communities in this land.

“Multi-national colonization is an important part of the history of this nation,” states Dr. Paar.

“And modern-day discovery of America’s first century is changing what we know about our history, how we can learn from it, and what it means to be an American,” agrees Megan Morris, Director of Santa Elena Foundation. “Dr. Paar’s research and writing parallels multiple current efforts to uncover Santa Elena and the much larger context it leads us to understand.”

The timeline for the completion of the manuscript is by May 2021, when it will then be published and disseminated.


Dr. Karen Paar is an archivist, historian, and among a handful of scholars capable of reading archaic paleography from the Columbus era. Dr. Paar grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, attended Oberlin College in Ohio, and completed a Ph.D. in Latin American History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Paar wrote her dissertation on the Santa Elena colony. As Research Assistant Professor at the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Paar continued her grant-funded research on Santa Elena. Dr. Paar returned to North Carolina and attended library school at North Carolina Central University while working at the North Carolina State University Libraries. Karen currently lives in western North Carolina and is the Director of the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies and Archivist of the Southern Appalachian Archives at Mars Hill University. Dr. Paar regularly lectures in support of the University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and continues her research on Santa Elena from primary source period archives on the Iberian Peninsula which will be transitioned into a book in 2021.

500+ Years of History Comes to Life, Marsh Tacky Horses, and Festival Fun at 2020 Lowcountry Fair Heritage Event

2/10/2020 – What’s more fun than a Lowcountry spring fair, filled to the brim with historical flair?  With the arrival of warmer weather, the Beaufort Heritage Tourism Corporation, Santa Elena Foundation and Coastal Discovery Museum are collaborating to bring the third Lowcountry Fair with Historical Flair on Friday, March 27 for schools and Saturday, March 28 for the public.

It’s the perfect way for the entire family to spend a day in the Lowcountry! And this “better than ever” event showcases 500+ years of history throughout Beaufort County as well as our unique ecology, culture and heritage. The events take place on the grounds of Coastal Discovery Museum, at the north end of Hilton Head Island.

Thanks to several partner organizations and sponsors, plans are in place for all ages to experience activities like the Living History Showcase, travelling Hunley exhibit, Marsh Tacky demonstrations, Lowcountry Animal programs, nature trails, and – of course – music, food, artisans, and much more! Moderately-priced tickets and family ticket packages are on sale in advance and at the gate – and with one ticket, all activities are included.

“The Lowcountry Fair is a stand-out event for the community to experience local heritage mixed in with plenty of good fun, food and friendship!” said Megan Morris, executive director of the Santa Elena Foundation. “This furthers county-wide efforts to highlight Beaufort’s unique history and collaborate with others in the region to commemorate significant moments and understand our past.”

The fair features Marsh Tackies – the SC State Horse – who will gladly meet spectators who want to learn more about the breed, and then show off their agility on during the Fun Show on the obstacle course. The Marsh Tacky is a well-protected breed due to its heritage as the horses that originally arrived in today’s America on Spanish ships in the 16th century.

The premier Living History Showcase includes early settlers through the twentieth century. Compelling historical re-enactors show family life, living conditions, and times of war, sacrifice, and change. From 16th century colonial times when Santa Elena was founded by the Spanish, through the American Revolution, the Civil War/Reconstruction era and up to WWII — men, women and children in period costume mingle with spectators, tell fascinating stories of life in days gone by, fire their weaponry, walk in a parade and engage visitors in fun, educational activities.

Among the activities, delicious local concessions are available for purchase throughout the day. Choose from a wide variety of food vendors who uniquely showcase food from around the Lowcountry — from hot lunches to special treats and even local brews. Sip and see around this unique venue with local music playing and skilled artisans displaying their original products from iron-welded signs, to local honey, and everything in between.

Discover many local organizations in the Partner Showcase. Meet friends at the National Park Service and participate in a Junior Ranger program, or head over to see what the Morris Center for Heritage, Port Royal Sound Foundation, and Mitchelville Project have to share – just to name a few!

And just when you think you’ve seen it all, follow a nature trail around the preserved grounds of historic Honey Horn, serving as Coastal Discovery Museum today. Don’t be surprised to meet their critters, like turtles, alligators, and snakes as you enjoy the waterfont view and beautiful oak trees!

With so much to do and enjoy, consult the event webpage for special program times throughout the day. While many of the demonstrations and activities will be ongoing, there will be scheduled times for weapons demonstrations, animal programs, onstage performances and more.
MORE DETAILS: Click here for the full PRESS KIT for the Lowcountry Fair!

TICKETS are available online (, and at the gate.  All tickets are non-refundable, this is a shine-only event.

ADVANCE PURCHASE (until March 20)
General Admission ($12), Children 7-17 ($5), Families (2 adults with 2+ kids) ($35)

AT THE GATE (March 28)
General Admission ($15), Children 7-17 ($5), Families (2 adults with 2+ kids) ($40)

Per person ($5) — reservations must be made in advance (

Beaufort Heritage Tourism Corp. represents: Beaufort County, Jasper County, City of Beaufort, Town of Port Royal, Town of Bluffton, and Town of Hilton Head Island

Organizations participating: Beaufort County Libraries, Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority, Carolina Marsh Tacky Association, Charleston Few, Coastal Discovery Museum,  Coastal Heritage Society, Daufuskie Historical Society & Marsh Tackies, Hilton Head Archaeology Society,  Lowcountry Raptors, Men of Menendez, Mighty 8th Airforce, Mitchelville, Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, The Outside Foundation, Port Royal Sound Foundation, National Park Service, Parris Island Museum & Historical Society, Santa Elena Foundation

Food Vendors:  Fire & Rice Paella, Melly Mel’s, Taco Brown, Smoking Gringo’s BBQ, Hudson’s Seafood, Street Meat, NY City Pizza, Krystyna’s Polish Food, Jack Frost Ice Cream

Craft Beer Tastings: Salt Marsh Brewing Company

Musical Guest: Chilly Willy Band

Broadcast Company: Beaufort County Channel