A local group is honoring the 154th anniversary of when Texans learned of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation with food and fun.
A Juneteenth Celebration is set to honor the day with history and festivities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in Central Park.
Juneteenth is the celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas and Louisiana. It is an age-old commemoration all throughout the country.
“At first, we did not get the word that slavery had ended, especially in the eastern part of the nation,” event organizer Patty Fennell said. “So, the celebration this Saturday is a revival of that celebration of the emancipation which occurred in 1865. I want to say that it was first announced in 1863 but the finalization was in 1865. Its been celebrated since the announcement but it has been celebrated even more since around the 1950s.”
Fennell has a deep history with Juneteenth celebrations dating as far back as her aunt who was a Juneteenth queen many years ago.
“There used to be a Juneteenth Queen (contest) somewhere around 50 or 60 years ago and my aunt was one of them,” said Fennell.
While this year’s event will not have such a pageant, it will include a variety of fun from food trucks to watermelon eating contests. The event will have a little bit of everything, including entertainment for all to enjoy with performances by local students and guest speakers like Barbara Ewing, a former Seguin High teacher.
“We plan to have a little opening program and we’ll have vendors and of course a few food booths,” Fennell said. “We’ll have some games for the children and some little souvenirs and relics of the event. There’s also a band that is supposed to go out.”
Saturday’s event is sure to take a page from the past, Fennell said.
“Back during the first celebrations, people would have hot sausages, barbecue, and watermelon,” she said. “I’m sure that was the gist of some of the first celebrations — some good soda pop and some good sausage and watermelon.”