Juneteenth Celebration Includes Praise in the Park Service

Juneteenth will be celebrated in Abilene Friday, June 17-Sunday, June 19, including a Praise in the Park service on Sunday.

Events are sponsored by the Abilene Black Chamber of Commerce and Let Us Breathe. June 19, 1865, was the day that slaves in Texas learned they had been freed by President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which became effective Jan. 1, 1863.

In addition to the Juneteenth events, Curtis House Cultural Center, 630 Washington St., will be open. The center houses documents, photos, and memorabilia depicting the contributions of Black residents to Abilene’s history. Contact Andrew Penns to schedule a group tour, 325-518-4604. Admission is by donation.

Juneteenth activities kick off Friday with a welcome, kickball game, and fish fry in Stevenson Park, beginning at 6 p.m. The day will conclude with a dance at the Abilene Convention Center beginning at 8 p.m. Live music mix will be provided by DJ SKIDD.

On Saturday, Mayor Anthony Williams and Police Chief Marcus Dudley will issue a welcome at 9:30 a.m. A parade from the Convention Center to Stevenson Park will begin at 10 a.m. Various activities will follow Saturday afternoon in the park, including a free lunch at noon, fashion show, basketball competition, open mic night, Basic Truth Band and live music mix by DJ SKIDD. From 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, health, fitness, and business expos will be hed at the Convention Center. 

The celebration will conclude Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m. with a free 2-mile youth sports camp in the park. Praise in the Park service, featuring Bridget Jordan, will begin at 11 a.m. A free lunch will be served at noon. At 1 p.m., a panel discussion titled “Can We Talk” will begin, followed by “Juneteenth History Facts and Trivia” at 2 p.m.

A Father’s Day tribute will begin at 3 p.m. At 7 p.m., a Freedom for the Fallen concert will begin, followed by live music mix by DJ SKIDD at 8 p.m.

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