A weeklong celebration begins this weekend as the city of Grambling kicks off its 45th Juneteenth Heritage Festival.
Juneteenth commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth (short for “June 19th”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people were freed.
“We’re just overly excited that after two years with the (COVID 19) pandemic we’re able to get back to celebrating such an important historic event,” said Grambling Mayor Edward Jones. “It’s been a long time coming but I think we have a great slate of activities that will offer a lot of fun while also remembering the significance behind why we celebrate Juneteenth.
Grambling’s festivities will begin with an opening ceremony and Luncheon from 1 – 3 p.m. Sunday in the Black and Gold Room of Grambling State University’s Favrot Student Union.
That will be followed by a Black Poetry Contest slated to start at 4 p.m. at the Grambling Community Center.
Then at 10 a.m. Monday, a Kirby Kangaroo Financial Reality Fair will be held from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Grambling Community Center.
At 6 p.m. Monday a review of the history of the city of Grambling will be held at the Community Center.
A performance by members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of North Central Louisiana will be held at 7 p.m. at the Conrad B. Hutchinson Performing Arts Center.
Two events are slated for Wednesday – an Economic Empowerment Workshop at 5 p.m. at the Grambling Community Center followed by an Old-Fashioned Prayer Meeting at the Community Center.
A Health Walk will be held from 8 – 8:45 a.m. Thursday at the GSU Track and will be followed by a Health & Wellness Community Health Fair from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Grambling Community Center.
Grambling’s Juneteenth festivities kick into high gear on Friday, beginning with a Bake Off from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Community Center.
A “Get Out and Fish” event will be held from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Grambling City Park in a pond recently stocked by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries with catfish.
A Fish fry will also be held from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Friday at the Community Center at a cost of $8 per plate and will be followed by a Watermelon Fest.
The 40th Miss Juneteenth pageant will take place from 7-9 p.m. today at T.H. Harris Hall on Grambling State University campus.
In 1982, the Miss Juneteenth Pageant was started by several citizens of the Grambling community. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, in conjunction with the City of Grambling, will host host this event during the Juneteenth festival. Young ladies who live Lincoln Parish and other surrounding parishes are encouraged to become involved.
Barbara McIntyre, who is involved with the Miss Juneteenth pageant, said this event means a lot to the community.
“I feel that the Miss Juneteenth Pageant affords a positive opportunity for the community to spotlight our young ladies while passing on our heritage to their generation,” McIntyre said. “It allows teachable moments on many levels and brings people to positive events within the community.”
June 17’s Saturday festivities begin as the Juneteenth Parade rolls through the village with GSU basketball legend and NBA Hall of Famer Willis Reed serving as grand marshal.
Activities to be held from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. June 17 at Grambling City Park will include presentations by essay winners, music, live R&B music performances, vendors, a car show, adults and childrens games and more.
Then from 7 – 10 p.m. June 17, a wine tasting will be held at the Grambling Community Center.
For more information on Grambling’s Juneteenth celebration, go online to cityofgrambling.org/
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