Three days of upcoming gatherings in Port St. Joe will mark the 157th anniversary of Juneteenth, an annual holiday to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, federal troops freed remaining slaves in Galveston, Texas, enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years after its signing.
The day was officially recognized as a federal holiday last year with the signing of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.
Events will be held throughout the weekend in Port St. Joe and include, marches, live music, food, family-friendly activities and opportunities to observe and acknowledge what’s considered the longest-running African American holiday.
Here is a list of upcoming events as part of Port St. Joe’s Juneteenth celebration, organized by Pioneer Bay Community Development Corporation, Amos Pittman and other community leaders.
Friday, June 17
Jazz in the Park: Saxophone player Jay Singleton and other local artists will be putting on a free smooth jazz concert for individuals age 18 and older at the Washington High School Baseball Field on Friday, June 17, from 7 to 10 p.m. EDT. Attendees are invited to bring blankets, chairs and coolers.
Saturday, June 18
Parade: A parade marking the occasion will begin at 11 a.m. EDT Saturday on Reid Avenue. The parade, which will feature Port St. Joe’s first annual Juneteenth Royal Court, will end at the Washington High School Gymnasium on Avenue D.
Community Celebration: A community-wide celebration will be held at the Washington High School Gymnasium complex on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. EDT. The family-friendly event will feature concessionaires, food tastings, food trucks, water slides, booths from local organizations, and historical and motivational speakers. It is free to the public.
Block Party: A block party will be held at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Avenue C near the Cozy Cafe on Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. EDT.
Sunday, June 19
Gospel Concert: Sonya Alaine will be performing in a gospel concert alongside local choirs on Sunday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. EDT at the Washington High School Gymnasium.
The Washington High School gymnasium is located at 414 Kenny Street in Port St. Joe. For more information, please contact Amos Pittman Jr. at 850-930-6609.