With a little over a month before the inaugural Juneteenth Celebration in Clarke County at the Ruritan Fairgrounds, plans have been finalized. What a great day of celebration it will be!

The committee is looking forward to a day of celebration on June 18th. A day of remembrance as we celebrate the end of slavery as General Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, and announced to the last 250,000 slaves that they were free, two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. The Juneteenth Celebration will be a day of pride and happiness as we celebrate the emancipation, the endurance and the achievements of our culture since that day.

When the three hosting organizations, Josephine School Community Museum (JSCM), Josephine Improvement Association (JIA) and the Clarke County Training School–Johnson Williams High School Reunion Association (CCTS-JWHS) decided to celebrate Juneteenth, it was not to be a fundraiser, but a celebration to bring the communities together and understand the significance of Juneteenth and reflect on it. Our theme for the Juneteenth Celebration is “Together We Rise.”

Along with the education and understanding of the significance of June 18, we will celebrate with entertainment for everyone. Among the events for the day will be Rise Band & Show with their Motown soul classics and oldies, the Buffalo Soldiers will present the U.S. flag and honor a local Buffalo Soldier, a thousand-flag slave memorial, MLA Mime from Washington, D.C., re-enactors of several famous people, comedian Grandma G from Owings Mills, Md., poetry and readings from some of our locals, a powerful MLK impersonation and more music entertainment by choirs and singers and the Souled Out Band. There will be activities for the children from face painting to balloon twisting, moon bounce and other games. There will be arts & craft vendors and several food vendors that will offer different varieties of a “traditional” Juneteenth Celebration meal. During slavery, food/meals were very dull in color because most of the time they only had flour and potatoes. When Texans had their first celebration, they decided on color for their meal, mostly red. In honor of that tradition, vendors will offer such treats as BBQ ribs, red beans and rice, collard greens, red devil’s food cake and red drinks.

There will be several pictorial displays and videos depicting the journey to freedom from then (1865) to now. DJ Mike Paige will be spinning the turntables throughout the day.

A special thank you to our sponsors who have made this possible: Platinum Sponsors — Bank of Clarke County and Virginia Humanities. Our Gold sponsors — Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, BVG Berryville, Collision Specialists of Fairfax, Enders & Shirley Funeral Home, Potomac Haven and C2 Management. Our Silver Sponsors — Clermont Farms and McDonalds and our Bronze Sponsors — Barns of Rose Hill, Clarke County Parks and Recreation, Ms. Maurita Powell and Ms. Darlene Walker.

The gates open at 11 a.m. on June 18 with DJ Mike warming us up. The Rise Band and Show will be our first event at noon. Admission is free and all invited. Please bring your lawn chairs, sunscreen and your umbrellas and plan on having a good time celebrating Juneteenth in Clarke County. Details can be found on our website: juneteenth2022.myevent.com.

Alverna White

Chairperson, Clarke County Juneteenth Celebration

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