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Juneteenth Heritage Festival kicks off Saturday at 10 a.m.



(credit: Vicksburg Juneteenth Heritage Festival Committee)

The annual Juneteenth Heritage Festival is a historic celebration this year, taking place on the nation’s first ever federally-recognized Juneteeth holiday.  Join the celebration at Vicksburg City Park and Pavilion at 100 Army Navy Drive on Saturday, June 19 from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

The event is made possible by Ezell McDonald – President and Founder, Gina Hendrickson – Vice President, Traniece Nikki King – Secretary, Grace Hicks Brown – Assistant Secretary, Bobbie Bingham Morrow – Treasurer & Co-Chair, Jeremy Johnson – Financial Secretary, Emmarie Flaggs Anderson – Journalist, Nancy Butler, LTC Columbus Hood, Eric Paymon, Portia Smith and Donna Williams.

Gina Hendrickson, co-chair & elected vice president of the local Juneteenth Committee headed by Ezell McDonald, spoke with Vicksburg Daily News on Thursday to share all of the various ways the festival will celebrate and honor the history of African Americans.

“I encourage our unified community to come out Saturday, especially the beginning from 10 a.m. – 12 noon, to learn the significance of this now federal holiday,” Hendrickson said. “The city of Vicksburg is very rich in history, as we know, Juneteenth came about at the end of the Civil War.”

Various speakers are scheduled including an invocation by Pastor James Bowman Sr., Mayor George Flaggs Jr. and a reading of  “What is Juneteenth” by Portia Smith and others.  A representative from the Vicksburg National Military park will embody a Civil War soldier in full regalia as he shares the stories of black soldiers and reveals a glimpse at the lives of African-Americans of the era.

Entertainers will be in abundance, so bring a chair to enjoy a range of hip-hop to gospel and blues to traditional African culture performances.   DJKG, DJ Country Que, Ola Jones Clark, Lil Sleepy, Thomas Murray, Arrica Bowman and Choir who will be accompanied by Dewayne Griffin, Nathaniel Williams, DJ Calvin Russell and many, many more.

There also will be over 35 vendors offering information and workshops – including Military Park replica, items for sale, food and drink, and hosting various activities.

Bring the kids to learn about Black history, play on the bounce house, and enjoy activities like coloring and trivia.

The poetry contest winners will also be reading their poems and receiving their prizes.

The Juneteenth Heritage Festival is a multi-cultural, family-oriented event where alcohol is not permitted.

Security for the event will be handled by Secure One. Other security measures have been put in place for safety. Vicksburg Police Chief Milton Moore has been put on notice as well as the Fire Chief Craig Danczyk. Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace will be in attendance, along with deputies, throughout the day.

More information can be found on their Facebook page or by calling 914-522-4692/601-630-5847.

A special message from Gina Hendrickson:

“A special thank you to all of our sponsors. You have all been a blessing to us and this historical event would not have happened without your support.

Special thank you to the City of Vicksburg. Especially Mayor George Flaggs, Jr., North Ward Michael Mayfield and South Ward Alex Monsour for voting yes on being a sponsor of this Festival. An extra thank you to Mayor Flaggs in offering a promotional video for Juneteenth. VTV, Pam Newton, Alvin Coleman, Larry Walker and Isaac-you are all wonderful and talented!

North Ward Michael Mayfield has been a significant part of many community events I have personally done here in Vicksburg. Mr. Mayfield has gone above and beyond making sure the venue is clean, ready and even making sure the bathrooms are cleaned! In addition Coach Graves, Parks & Recreation as well as Community Development on behalf of our Non-Profit Organization a heartfelt thank you. The city employees are wonderful.

Let me also personally thank Mr. David Day. I sent him a message if he wanted to be part of this. An he gave me an immediate yes and came to a function I was part of that day to hand deliver a check. Vicksburg Daily News has also featured our event with our Flyer, Poetry Contest and article. Here we are 2 days before the event and David Day came through again to make sure another article was done.

This is a multi-cultural Festival. City of Vicksburg is ahead of the curve in already having a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for Juneteenth since Juneteenth has now been made a Federal Holiday. I encourage our unified community to come out Saturday, especially the beginning from 10am-12noon to learn the significance of this now Federal Holiday. City of Vicksburg is very rich in history as we know, Juneteenth came about at the end of the civil war. 

Lastly & most important, it has been an honor to work with our Committee and our President, Ms. Ezell McDonald who is the Founder of the first Juneteenth celebration which was held in Marcus Bottom.”

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