Two days of upcoming gatherings in Port St. Joe will mark the 158th 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 in 2021 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.
Last year’s celebration was the largest in Port St. Joe’s history, and organizers say they hope to top that turnout in 2023.
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.
2023 Juneteenth celebration schedule
Saturday, June 17
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 annual Juneteenth Royal Court, will end at the Washington High School Gymnasium on Avenue D. Parade participants are encouraged to decorate golf carts and must register by June 12. The best decorated golf cart will receive a $100 Visa gift card.
Community Celebration: A community-wide celebration will be held at the Washington High School Gymnasium complex on Saturday from noon 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.
Music Festival: Konkoction Band, Chris Godber, Tasmin Nixon and Tiffany Burns-Samanie will be putting on a free concert for individuals at the Washington High School Baseball Field on Saturday night starting at 8 p.m. EDT. Attendees are invited to bring blankets, chairs and coolers.
Sunday, June 18
Fathers Day Brunch and Gospel Concert: Jay “4G” Gathers and ten local choirs and performers will be participating in a gospel concert on Sunday beginning at 2 p.m. EDT at the Washington High School Gymnasium. An optional brunch will also be served for $25 per adult and $12 per child. Circuit Judge Devin Collier will speak at the event.
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 Sunday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. EDT.
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.