Blues legend Jesse James is slated to headline the always popular Juneteenth Family Day Parade & Festival at Nichol Park in Richmond on Saturday.
The festival drawing tens of thousands of revelers annually has been known to cause dancing fits. A video of Richmond police officers dancing the “wobble” at last year’s Juneteenth went viral (see below).
The free and fun family event, which celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S., begins with a parade at 10 a.m. and continues with a park festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This year’s parade goes from Marina Way South at Cutting Boulevard to the park at 33rd Street and Macdonald Avenue. Its grand marshals are Jim Goins, the city’s finance director who is set to retire, and recently retired city clerk Diane Holmes. Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and local Congressman Mark Desaulnier will also join the parade route, according to this informative report by the nonprofit For Richmond.
A festival then follows at Nichol Park that runs until 6 p.m. and includes heaps of activities for the whole family, including two stages of entertainment. The music lineup includes Jesse James and the Purple Smoke Band, DeJeana Burkes & The Bluzfusion Band, Duane Patton & the Patton Leatha Band and Niecey’s Obama 2nd Term Band, according to For Richmond.
A talent show, youth poetry slam and “Nae Nae” dance contest featuring local residents will offer even more great entertainment.
Meanwhile, festival-goers can enjoy delicious food from CJ’s BBQ & Fish and Chez Soul, vendor and information booths, health screenings and activities for kids.
The event is sponsored by the Neighborhood Block Association, City of Richmond and Chevron. It celebrates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that enslaved people were free. It took more than two years for news of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to reach Galveston.
“Juneteenth is all about serving the community and that is the reason why we commemorate our history with this festival,” said Jerrold Hatchett, president of the NBA, according to For Richmond, which is also one of the event’s supporters. “We want our youth to appreciate their history and celebrate their ancestors who overcame adversity so that they can have the freedoms that they enjoy today.”