(BASTROP) A weekend full of history, culture, music, food, and fun will attract many to Bastrop for the 31st Bastrop Juneteenth Celebration Friday, June 15 and Saturday, June 16.
Visitors will especially be attracted to Saturday’s full-day events starting at 10 a.m. with the annual parade that travels down Main Street and ends at the Kerr Community Center Park on Walnut Street. Barbara Gail Clemons is this year’s parade marshall. The celebration continues with the Emancipation program at the Kerr Center beginning at 11:30 a.m. with Nelson Linder as the keynote speaker. By nightfall, celebrants will rock the evening starting at 8 p.m. at the street dance on Main and Spring Streets with Mz. Dre and 20neSoul.
For the car enthusiast, The Blue Flame Cruisers will host a car show at Schuleman Lost Pines 8 Theater lot with proceeds benefiting the Boys and Girls Club, holiday family scholarships, Bastrop Co. Emergency Food Pantry, the Kerr Community Center, and BISD scholarships.
“Our first show, created to enhance the Juneteenth Celebration in Bastrop, was organized by 6 members featuring 15 entries. Last year, our 22-member club hosted 85 participants in the car show, and we are anticipating about 100 entries this year,” Communication’s Coordinator Peggy Miller said.
Miller said that the show generally has a classic/antique car vibe but over the years more modern vehicles, trikes and bikes and theme cars have been on exhibit.
While taking in the cars, festival-goers can enjoy food vendors that will have refreshments such as chicken and waffles, turkey legs, sausage wraps and cold drinks.
The Blue Flame Cruisers will end their evening with a cruise into Main Street to exhibit their cars and take in the tunes at the street dance.
All this follows a more formal Friday evening event—The Bastrop Juneteenth Celebration banquet at Bastrop Convention Center. The highlight of the banquet is recognition of individuals who have been instrumental in community service. This year’s honorees include Esther Ray Tolbert, Carlos Liriano, Delores Moore, Sherrell Moore, Bill Peterson, Johnny Sanders, Mary Ann Scott, Kenneth Strain, and Jeff Yarbrough. Youth of the Year is Peniah Waites, who along with Damien Winston, will also receive Juneteenth Scholarships.
Juneteenth, an official state holiday declared in 1980, is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery. The Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston on June 19, 1865, with news that the war had ended and that all slaves were now free. Early Juneteenth celebrations were a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Today, people gather to celebrate African American freedom while encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures. Everyone will cap off the evening visiting and dancing to DJ Pat Luv’s music.
“A true Juneteenth celebration leaves visitors well satisfied and with enough conversation to last until the next year,” Miller said.