Every year, Huntsville’s Juneteenth celebration gets bigger and better. That’s what organizers of the annual event that marks the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Texas say. And that’s what they’re expecting for Saturday’s big event.
“We have a great day planned for Saturday,” Juneteeth organizer Gloria Jones said. “There will be something for everyone and we encourage the community to come out and have some fun.”
Organizers are expecting more people in the parade, more people at the park and more teams in the barbecue cookoff.
“This year’s theme is all about coming together,” Harrison added. “We are letting our light shine on the community and trying to show our bond.”
The parade will run along 10th Street beginning at 10 a.m. and end at Emancipation Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, where attendees will be treated to food and activities throughout the day. Sam Jhangiani, owner and operator of Lee Baron Fashions will serve as the parade’s grand marshall, with 2019 scholarship recipient Charleston O’Bryant also being honored.
“We are really looking forward to some of the floats and vehicles taking part in the parade this year,” organizer Jenniffer Harrison said. “We do not know what each person will do so it is always a fun surprise to see.”
A program with the theme of togetherness will be held at the MLK Recreation Center after the conclusion of the parade.
Among the activities at the park will be an egg toss, water balloon fight and booths from local vendors. Different churches and organizations will be giving out free food such as hot dogs and snow cones at the park throughout the celebration.
The activities are scheduled to wrap up around 3 p.m., with a softball game beginning at 4:30 p.m.
“We are always trying to add something new to the celebration to get everyone involved,” Harrison said. “We want each year to be bigger and better than the last.”
Juneteenth is the celebration of the emancipation of slaves, delivered in an address by Major General Gordan Granger at the Ashton Villa in Galveston on June 19, 1865. Juneteenth has been celebrated in Texas ever since and is now observed in 45 states across the country.
It became an official Texas holiday on January 1, 1980 when a bill, introduced by State Representative Al Edwards, was approved by the legislature.
“This is such an important day in our history,” Jones added. “Our children and community need to know what happened on this day and how it changed everything for us. It is about freedom.”