Birthplace of Juneteenth Expanding Local Texas Event
to Host First National Juneteenth Festival in 2012
Galveston Juneteenth Festivities to Be Held June 9-19th
GALVESTON, Texas – Those who don’t know Galveston, Texas is the birthplace of Juneteenth will soon. At least that’s the hope of the island’s National Juneteenth Committee, which is working to expand its local Juneteenth celebration into a national tourist-drawing festival in 2012 and beyond.
Galveston has long hosted one of the largest local Juneteenth celebrations in the country. To enhance the event, this year organizers have added two new festival components and an expanded parade. The 10-day celebration will also include a meeting of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus.
"The goal here is to build awareness of the history of Juneteenth in Galveston while gradually expanding our event into a national festival," said Doug Matthews, chair of the National Juneteenth Committee in Galveston. "By the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth in 2015, we hope to see people flocking to Galveston to observe this important part of American history."
Juneteenth – a holiday celebrated on June 19 to observe the date the last slaves were freed in the United States – originated in Galveston as the town was the first place the Emancipation Proclamation was read in the South in 1865.
2012 Juneteenth events will include a parade, picnics, festivals, a barbeque cook-off, African-American heritage exhibits, concerts and the annual reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at Galveston’s Ashton Villa – the site of the official Juneteenth monument.
A new two-day "African American Museum Juneteenth Festival" will be held June 15-16 with live entertainment, food, clothing and art vendors, special activities and more. Another festival "Blockfest" will be held June 16 after the Annual Juneteenth Jubilee Parade.
Visitors to the island are also encouraged to participate in self-guided tours of Galveston’s African American historic places during Juneteenth. A guidebook can be downloaded at www.galveston.com/africanamericanguidebook.
For a full list of Juneteenth events, please visit www.galveston.com/cvb031412.
About Galveston Island
Galveston Island is a historic beach town located on the Gulf of Mexico just 50 miles from Houston. The island is best known as a vacation destination, offering 32 miles of beaches, a variety of family attractions, Texas’ premier cruise port and one of the largest and well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country, including several National Historic Landmarks. Galveston Island is home to popular amusements such as, Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, as well as a variety of museums and recreational activities from surfing to birding. For more information on Galveston Island visit www.galveston.com or call 1-888-GAL-ISLE.