New Juneteenth Family Festival Hits San Antonio Area

The Juneteenth Family Festival provides a new venue to honor the 157th anniversary of the day an estimated 250,000 enslaved African Americans in Texas learned they were free. June 19, 1865, known as Juneteenth, is the day Union Army Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and announced that the Civil War was over and President Abraham Lincoln had abolished slavery two years earlier.

In 2021, President Biden signed a bill making June 19 a federal holiday. City of San Antonio and Bexar County offices will be closed on June 20, also known as Emancipation Day.

The family festival will take place on June 18, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., at the Real Life Amphitheater, 16765 Lookout Road in Selma. Event organizer Danielle Gulley said this was the festival’s first year.

“It’s a day when we can all celebrate freedom,” Gulley said. “If you value humanity, this is a time to reflect on where you came from and where you are going. We are delighted to be able to organize an event that includes everyone. »

The festival slogan “Mind, Body and Soul” reflects the activities planned for that day. A 5K walk/run will begin at 8:30 a.m. with an entry fee of $30 which includes a shirt, water, and a number. This will be followed by a Juneteenth Awards Ceremony which will recognize eight people, nominated by their peers, for their community work.

At noon, the carnival will open with a Ferris wheel and family activities. A day pass for the carnival costs $30. During the afternoon, a series of symposia are planned on marriage, singles and veterans. A health fair will offer free screenings for hypertension and sickle cell anemia as well as a blood drive.

The festival will conclude with a concert featuring national artists Tim Bowman, Fred Hammond, Erica Campbell and Mali Music. Concert tickets start at $20.

In a promotional video, Hammond said people can dance, do what they need to do, and break free from emotional, health and financial shackles “throughout our lives.”

“There are shackles holding us down, but that night the shackles start to come loose,” Hammond said. “That’s what it’s about, that’s what this festival is about. Take off the chains as we think.

Gulley said portions of the festival will be televised by festival partner Impact Network for viewing on the Spectrum 474 channel and Impact.com.

For more information, visit www.daniellegulley.com.

Several other celebrations are planned for the weekend of June 16. The Juneteenth Festival 2022 will take place June 17-19 at Comanche Park No. 2, 2600 Rigsby Ave. Free entry. Activities include children’s activities, a Friday Fish Fry, gospel groups and vendor booths. Entertainment includes Ruben V, Young James Brown and the P-Funk Outlaws. On Sunday, Church in the Park will feature Mama Dee and Gary Givens.

The San Antonio African American Community Museum and Archive will be sponsoring the Juneteenth History Harvest on June 17 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Comanche Park, 2600 Rigsby Ave. Participants can digitize or donate church annual programs, obituaries, newspaper clippings and photos to the digital archive at Texas A&M San Antonio. For more information, email [email protected] or call 210-724-3350.

On June 18, the nonprofit and the Texas Kidney Foundation will sponsor the Juneteenth Night @ Missions fundraiser at Nelson Wolff Stadium, 5757 US-90West. The game will start at 7 p.m. The San Antonio Missions will face the Amarillo Sod Poodles. The game will celebrate the contributions of African American players to baseball. Tickets are $75. Proceeds will benefit TKF and SAAACAM.

The SA Block Party/Fair will also take place June 18 from 3-9:30 p.m., at the Alamo Beer Company, 202 Lamar. Sponsored by Dream Big Scholarship Fund Inc., the fair will feature live music, vendors and a children’s play area. The event is free; tickets must be reserved.

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