GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — This weekend, the longest continuously running celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation returns to the Gallia County Jr. Fairgrounds.
The theme for this year’s Emancipation Celebration is “Our future is to be forever free.”
As previously reported in the Tribune, the annual event is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, with activities planned for all ages. Saturday also features “Kid’s Fun Day.”
The Emancipation Celebration’s schedule is as follows:
Saturday, Sept 18
10 a.m., opening ceremony with Girl and Boy Scouts, as well as Civil War Troop re-enactors raising the flag. Musical selections will be performed by the River Valley High School Band and Raymond Cousins will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Andrew Gilmore, president of the Emancipation Board, will deliver the welcome, followed by the invocation by Minister Marlin Griffin. The Negro National Anthem (Lift Every Voice and Sing) will then be performed.
The children’s activities for the day will begin at 10:30 a.m. There will be horse and pony rides, animal balloons, free face painting and more fun, according to the organizers. There will be a special appearance made by some of the Paw Patrol characters. There will also be music from Rockin Reggie during the day.
Then, The Unit Band WV from Charleston, West Virginia will perform jazz and rhythm and blues from 1 to 2 p.m.
Afternoon programming will begin at 2 p.m. with a welcome and recognition of local, state and national dignitaries by Minister Marlin Griffin, vice-president of the Emancipation Board. Remarks will follow from Gallia County and Gallipolis City commission officials.
An African drum and dance performance by Lawrence R. Greene and Company, will be the special entertainment for the afternoon with two separate shows throughout the afternoon.
The 5th Regiment United States Colored Troops will then present a reenactment.
Remarks will follow from O.O. McIntyre Park Recreation Director Craig Sanders.
Markeya Gardner and Jarrell Scott will be awarded Emancipation Proclamation Scholarships by Arthur Clark at the end of the day.
Closing remarks will be delivered by Minister Griffin.
Sunday, Sept. 19
10 a.m. morning worship service, with musical selections from the Paint Creek Baptist Church Praise Team; Minister Marlin Griffin will deliver the welcome; Deacon Glenn Miller will lead a devotional. Reverend Dr. Gene Armstrong, of Mount Carmel Baptist Church of Bidwell will do the introduction of Reverend Calvin Minnis, of Corinth Missionary Baptist Church, Centerpoint, who will lead the sermon.
The afternoon program will begin at 2 p.m. with Andrew Gilmore delivering the welcome and special remarks. Gilmore will also lead the recognition of local, state, and national dignitaries and the Emancipation Board, both past and present.
Angela Young will be the day’s special musical performer and Dr. Michael Davis, head of recreation at the Ohio Department of Corrections will be the keynote speaker.
Special remarks will then be given by Robin Payne, chairperson of the John Gee Black Historical Center and Gilmore will deliver closing remarks.
Both days will have the Barnyard Express set up for children with free admission. Attendees will have the opportunity to register to vote and see the events from the day they were born in newspaper fashion with Birthday Chronicles by the Area Agency on Aging District 7. Community Health and Wellness Staff from Holzer Health System will also be available both days.
The Gallia County Emancipation Celebration welcomes everyone to join the festivities.
Editor’s Notes: On Thursday, organizers confirmed to Ohio Valley Publishing this weekend’s events are still scheduled.
Also, last summer, the Gallia County Emancipation Celebration gained national recognition with a piece that appeared in The Washington Post debunking a myth that Juneteenth was the oldest celebration of Emancipation and the end of slavery, stating that notoriety belonged to the event held in Gallipolis.