12th Annual Maryland Traditions Heritage Awards

The Sensational Royal Lights, from left: Earl Slacum, Ryan Elliott, Frederick (Freddie) Elliott, and Tyrome Elliott.

The Sensational Royal Lights, from left: Earl Slacum, Ryan Elliott, Frederick (Freddie) Elliott, and Tyrome Elliott.

BALTIMORE – Maryland Traditions, the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council, is pleased to present the 12th Annual Maryland Traditions Heritage Awards — honors given each year to three of Maryland’s outstanding stewards of folklife or living cultural traditions. The public is cordially invited to attend this free event at UMBC’s Proscenium Theatre, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m.

This year, the recipients are: in the category of Person / People, The Sensational Royal Lights, an African-American gospel quartet with roots in Dorchester County; in the category of Place, Curtis’ Coney Island Famous Weiners of Allegany County; and in the category of Tradition, stuffed ham, a longstanding St. Mary’s County foodway.

Each year, UMBC, in partnership with Maryland Traditions, produces a short documentary on the Heritage Award “Place” recipient. This year, the new documentary on Curtis’ Coney Island Famous Weiners will be shown during the awards ceremony.

“The Maryland Traditions Heritage Awards are the state’s highest honor for those who teach, practice, or steward our living cultural traditions,” said Maryland Traditions Director, Chad Edward Buterbaugh. “By taking time to recognize the people, places, and practices that are vital to Maryland folklife, we also celebrate the diversity that makes Maryland such a unique place to live.”

“This is my favorite event of the year,” added Maryland Traditions Folklorist, Ashley Minner. “And if you go, I’m sure it will be yours too.”

The ceremony will also feature an opening performance by Meki Toalepai Sr. and Jr., recipients of a 2019 Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Award for Tahitian drumming (Anne Arundel County), and a closing concert by the Sensational Royal Lights. Cousins Jay Armsworthy and Woody Norris (St. Mary’s County) will play bluegrass during the reception immediately followingthe ceremony.

Free tickets can be reserved through the  UMBC University Tickets website. For more information, contact Ashley Minner at acminner@umbc.edu or 410-245-4303; or visit the 12th Annual Maryland Traditions Heritage Awards Facebook event page.

MARYLAND TRADITIONS is the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council. Since 1974, state-employed folklorists have worked to identify, document, support, and present Maryland folklife through grants, awards, festivals, and other programming.

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