The Willow Hill Heritage and Renaissance Center in Portal was the site of the annual Willow Hill Heritage and Renaissance Festival during the Labor Day weekend.
Gathered for the event were those who attended the former school, which was one of the first schools for African-Americans in Bulloch County, along with descendants of founders. The original Willow Hill School was founded in 1874 during Reconstruction.
On Saturday, attendees participated in organized bike rides all over the countryside, followed by a prayer breakfast with Gay Hill Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Larry Cone as the guest speaker. The afternoon brought free food and activities for youth, a soccer clinic, basketball fun with Larry "Gator" Rivers of the Harlem Globetrotters and free health screenings. There was also a lecture on African-American churches in Bulloch County by Dr. Alvin Jackson, president of the center.
The weekend concluded with a meal, followed by a gospel extravaganza, with hosts Pastor Frankie and Rev. Jean Owens.