Birthplace of Juneteenth Celebrates Emancipation with New Events,
10-Day Festivities in Galveston June 9-19
Galveston Juneteenth Events Kick Off This Weekend
GALVESTON ISLAND, Texas – When you head to Galveston June 9-19, you’ll be coming home where it all began as the island hosts 10 days of festivities to celebrate Juneteenth – a holiday that originated in this historic Texas beach town.
This year’s festivities will include a variety of new events – including a new festival, an expanded parade and historic mainland tours. In addition, the annual picnics, barbeque cook-offs, African-American heritage exhibits, concerts and reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in front of the official Juneteenth monument will return to help commemorate June 19, 1865 – the date the last slaves were freed in the South.
Here’s a look at what’s new with Galveston’s Juneteenth festivities in 2012:
African American Museum Juneteenth Festival
A new two-day event, the “African American Museum Juneteenth Festival,” will be held June 15-16 featuring live entertainment, food and art vendors. The festival will pay tribute to African American music with a line-up of live jazz, reggae, R&B, and Zydeco performers, including the Texas Brass Band and Louisiana-based band Step Rideau and The Zydeco Outlaws. Kids will be able to enjoy a variety of activities, including mechanical bull riding, face painting and sack racing. The festival will take place in the parking lot of Courville Football Stadium at the corner of 27th Street and Avenue M from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.
Mainland Historic Bus Tours
New for this year’s Juneteenth celebration is the Historic Mainland Bus Tour. Participants in the tour will be transported from Galveston Island to two remarkable mainland sites in Galveston County: the historic Stringfellow Orchards in Hitchcock and the 1867 Settlement – a Reconstruction era community in Texas City. These tour stops will showcase properties that played a major role in the lives of newly free slaves in Texas. The tour will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 16. Tickets are $10 per person. To make reservations please call Very Bell-Gary at (409) 935-5219.
Expanded Juneteenth Jubilee Parade
The annual Juneteenth Jubilee Parade has been expanded this year to feature more decorated floats and live entertainment, including performances from the Texas Brass Band and Houston area dance groups. Also new this year will be a Corvette car show and horse riders in addition to the annual marching bands and drill teams that liven up Galveston’s streets every year. The parade will kick off at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 16 starting at McGuire Dent Park at the corner of 28th Street and Avenue R in Galveston. The parade will make its way down Martin Luther King Drive ending at the Courville Football Stadium parking lot.
African American Historic Places Tour
Just in time for this year’s Juneteenth festivities, Galveston.com has launched a new, interactive Web-based tour guide of Galveston’s historic African American Places. Visitors to the island are encouraged to participate in self-guided tours during Juneteenth by using the guide found at www.galveston.com/africanamericanguidebook.
Popular annual Galveston Juneteenth events include the:
· Saint Vincent’s House Gospel By The Sea (June 9)
· Nia Cultural Center Youth African-American Heritage Exhibits (June 12-17)
· Juneteenth Stringfellow Orchards Family Day in Hitchcock (June 16)
· Mount Olive Gospel Explosion (June 16)
· Al Edwards Emancipation Proclamation Reading and Prayer Breakfast (June 19)
· Annie Mae Charles Juneteenth Jubilee Picnic (June 19)
· Reedy Chapel’s Annual March, Musical & Reception (June 19)
For a full list of events, please visit www.galveston.com/juneteenth.
Want to know more about the history of Juneteenth in Galveston?
Watch the “Roots of Juneteenth” Video!
Many people think slavery ended on September 22, 1862 – the date Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In reality, many slaves weren’t freed until much later when news of the proclamation reached their towns. The last of those slaves lived in the South and were freed on June 19, 1865 after the Emancipation Proclamation was read on a harbor pier in Galveston, Texas. This date eventually became known as “Juneteenth.” While celebrations were long held in Galveston and various parts of the country in earlier years, Texas lead the way in making Juneteenth an official state holiday in 1980.Today, Juneteenth is celebrated in more than 40 states throughout the country.
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.