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Celebrate Freedom Day: Food, fun and live entertainment highlight Lanett’s Juneteenth festivities – Valley Times-News

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Celebrate Freedom Day: Food, fun and live entertainment highlight Lanett’s Juneteenth festivities

Posted: Tue, Jun 20, 2023 8:30 AM

LANETT – Locally celebrate Juneteenth 2023 with two weekend events. On June 10th, a well-attended Gospel Festival was held on the court at the LB Sykes Community Centre. Last Saturday was the celebration of what many African-Americans have long called Freedom Day. This part of the local celebration is a festival in downtown Lanett. It starts at ten o’clock on a stage set up on North Lanier Avenue. The downtown area from City Hall to the downtown fountain is closed to traffic. Vendors selling everything from gourmet food to Juneteenth collectibles, handmade jewelry, and more line both sides of the road, and some really good live entertainment keeps people looking for a cool place to sit and spend the day.

Greetings from Mayor Jamie Heard, Mayor Steve Tramell and Councilor Henry Cooper representing the City of Llanette, West Point and Valley, respectively. Anyone with a taste for history will love bringing a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation to the stage to be read aloud by MC Cameron Reed. Brothers Corey and Ron Ross delivered it on horseback. They approached the stage from the north on two handsome horses named Goldie and Mystery, carrying a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation and the official red, white and blue Juneteenth banner.

The Emancipation Proclamation was drafted by President Abraham Lincoln five days after the ensuing Battle of Antietam and released to the public on January 1, 1863. It said that all slaves in seceded states had been freed. It would be enforced by Union forces in parts of the South under their control for the remainder of the war. It would be a growing factor in the South’s defeat in the Civil War. Passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865 abolished slavery throughout the United States

“Thank you, Corey, for bringing us this manifesto,” Mayor Hurd said. “We’ve come a long way, by God’s grace, and through the hard work and sacrifice of generations of our ancestors. Today, as we commemorate the 161st anniversary of freedom, we pause to honor the brave souls who have fought for freedom over the centuries. We thank our brothers and sisters who have stood with us on our journey to freedom. Today, we celebrate our many successes and achievements.

“As we move forward, I urge everyone in the Grand Canyon region to join us in making our community a place where everyone is welcome and proud to call home.”

Saturday’s event included face painting, games for kids, storytelling, a watermelon eating contest and a Battle of the Hot Wings eating contest with officials from three local cities.

The scavenger hunt winners were 5th graders Katelyn Simmons from Fairfax Elementary, Suni Huguley from West Point Elementary and 6th grader Zaysia Heard from WO Lance Elementary. Katelyn and Suni tied for first place, answering 12.5 out of 13 questions correctly; Zaysia guessed 12 of them.

Show host Cameron Reed is a graduate of Lanett High School. He is the equipment manager for the NFL’s Chicago Bears and founder of the Reid Family Foundation. Face painting was done by Laurel Alford of Newnan, Georgia. Her designs fit the imagination of children, and she creates images of princesses, tigers, superheroes, flowers and more. King Jumpers of Valley brought in their giant slide and Lanett firefighters were on scene to wash the kids down with a cool mist.

Live music offers a variety of genres, including hip hop, electro Latin, gospel, rap and classic R&B. Ty Madden is host for the day, with performers including Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Drummer, Miles College’s Kappa Alpha Psi Steppers’ Delta Tau Chapter, Adry Sandoval, Curvy Girls Are Dancing, Too, Chosen Generations, FGO, Big Man Griffin, the Infinity Dream Dancers, Poet Ravencroft, JFVON, Mello Ooowee and other CC Music artists.

As night falls on the most eventful day, a fireworks display presented by Boom City USA takes place over the Lanett Mill grounds.

The City of Lanett partnered with the Grand Valley Regional Juneteenth Committee for this year’s celebration.

The committee wishes to express its gratitude to this year’s sponsors. They include City of Lanett, Kenny Knox Tires, Chattahoochee Federal Credit Union, Pilgrim Baptist Church, St. John’s Community Baptist Church, Grand Canyon Area Chamber of Commerce, Trammell Properties, Tabernacle of Praise, Ala Bama A&M Alumni Association, Goodsell United Methodist Church, West Point Development Authority, Capital City Bank, West Point, Mount Hermon Baptist Church, Boom City USA and Dobbs Corporation.

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