All sunshine and smiles at 2017 Juneteenth parade and festival


By Mike Kinney

Thousands of community members enjoyed a fun-filled, sun-soaked 2017 Juneteenth Family Day Parade & Festival on Saturday.

The free community event included the usually colorful parade that began in the morning at Marina Way and Cutting Boulevard. Mid-morning, the event culminated with a daylong festival at Nichol Park.

Former longtime Richmond Councilman Nat Bates was the parade’s grand marshal. Along with several current elected officials, youth representing local schools, athletics programs and other groups marched their way to a fun time at Nichol Park. And who could help but gawk at the fancy customized cars, lowriders and social club motorcycles that rolled through.

The festival that followed included live music, fun activities for kids such as a giant slide, delicious local soul food and a number of community resource booths.

Juneteenth is celebrated nationally as a way to commemorate emancipation from slavery in Texas on June 19 in 1865. Richmond’s event is sponsored by the National Brotherhood Alliance, the city and several local corporate partners, including Chevron Richmond, Wells Fargo, BART, Mechanics Bank, SIMs Recycling Solutions, AC Transit, Travis Credit Union, Republic Services, Bank of the West and more.