The Richmond community came together Saturday for another colorful and well-attended celebration of African American culture at the Annual Juneteenth Family Day Parade and Festival at Nicholl Park.
The event, sponsored by the Neighborhood Block Association, the city and Chevron Richmond, was jam-packed with fun activities and entertainment, starting with a parade at 10 a.m. and ending with a festival that ran through 6 p.m.
The warm day was greeted with a positive atmosphere and encouraged festival-goers to dance, grub on a wide array of soul foods or enjoy a number of family-friendly activities. Children benefited from an extensive play area that included a huge slide, bubbles-filled pool, bouncy house by the Richmond Police Activities League and playground.
The parade made the event a true community activity, as it featured the many positive community groups that help make the city a great place to live, including youth athletics organizations like the Richmond Steelers, faith groups such as Easter Hill United Methodist Church and plenty of presence from the Richmond police and fire departments.
The Easter Hill church group rode off with one of the day’s grand prizes: First place for best float. The church pulled a large and colorful “freedom train” float that perfectly fit the occasion. The celebration is held not just in Richmond but across the country to commemorate what many say was the official end of slavery on June 19 in 1865.
The parade’s Grand Marshal was Mary Peace Head, a longtime Parchester Village activist who worked as a welder in the Richmond shipyards during WWII. Head was also a parade judge alongside City Manager Bill Lindsay and Chevron Community Engagement Manager Andrea Bailey.
Festival-goers also enjoyed a long line of resource and information booths and an entertainment stage featuring live music, a talent showcase and youth poetry slam.