Service organizations invited to participate in Juneteenth observance
From STAFF REPORTS
A third annual event will be held in Newnan to mark Juneteenth — a holiday first observed two months after the end of the Civil War, and two- and-a-half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect.
Area service organizations are invited to take part in Coweta’s third annual Juneteenth celebration, to be held June 16 at Newnan’s Willie Lynch Park at Wesley Street and Richard Allen Drive.
Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates the end of slavery.
The first Juneteenth celebration was held in Galveston, Texas. Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston on June 19, 1865, and read General Order Number Three, which announced that all slaves were free. It was two months after the end of the Civil War, and two-and- a-half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect.
The holiday has grown and spread, and is a state holiday in Texas. It’s a major event in 32 states, Harrison said.
“It was initially started because people wanted to find their families – it was basically like a family reunion,” said Harrison. “Now, today, we use it as a community reunion.”
In addition to the community reunion aspect of it, Harrison wants this year’s event to be “kind of like a resource fair.”
Hopes are that the community outreach and service organizations will also run games, in addition to setting up booths. “We have games that they can run such as a sack race, hula hoop – so if they would like to take that on, they are pretty easy games,” Harrison said. Or, groups can simply set up a table or booth.
There will be lots of free games for children and families, food, other vendors, and an entertainment portion including local steppers, comedians, and other performers, as well as D.J. Si ManBaby from 107.5 FM. There will also be access to the swimming pool at Willie Lynch Park.
The Car Club Association will be serving free food early in the day, and will provide free admission to the pool for children. They’ll also have classic cars to show off.
“Expect a lot of unity,” Harrison said. “The theme is ‘come out and see who is in your community,’” she said.
Harrison is still looking for a clown who can do balloon animals, as well as face painters, for the event. And “we’re looking for all types of creative entertainment,” she said.
The vendor fee is $25.
Harrison got the idea to start a Juneteenth event in Newnan after visiting Mississippi during Juneteenth celebrations with her husband. “He told me all about Juneteenth,” she said. “I went online and did some research. I said, ‘Newnan has got to have this!’”
“Our community is a great community. And if we could do a yearly reunion, just imagine how awesome that would be,” she said.
“We wanted to bring back some old goodies, like the community knowing each other and wanting to help each other, and being able to reach out and know one another,” Harrison said.
The event has grown each year, and Harrison wants to continue that trend.
“I thought we had a great time last year,” Harrison said. “The entertainment was great, the community was awesome, everybody was participating. I fell over in the sack race!” Harrison said. “We really had a great time. This year will be the same thing, but triple.”
For more information about the Juneteenth event, contact Harrison at email@example.com or 404-536-0006.