EXMORE – The Eastern Shore of Virginia celebrates the 19th Annual ESVA Juneteenth Festival with two days of music, exhibits, food, games and fun, on Saturday June 16 and Sunday June 17, in the Exmore Town Park.
Presented by the Juneteenth Coalition headed by Ms. Jane Cabarrus, the ESVA-wide event is scheduled to kick off at 10 am on Saturday with the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation followed by a full day of live music, health exhibits, Karate and other demonstrations, Ident-a-Kid, historical displays and plenty of free activities, including games and contests for children. The fun continues on Sunday from 3 pm To 5 pm with performances by some of the ESVA’s most popular and talented gospel groups. Look for an Elvis sighting. Black Elvis is scheduled to perform.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, dates to 1865. It is a national day of pride commemorating the official end of slavery in the United States two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. In that Proclamation, the two counties on Virginia’s Eastern Shore—Accomack and Northampton— were excluded by name. As a result, slavery here did not end until 1864.
The event is a reminder of the rich cultural heritage and diversity of the ESVA, a piece of Virginia that African-Americans have called home since the 1600s. In the Colonial period, many African-Americas were free, sharing the same rights as other citizens.
“It’s important for everyone to remember their history, and their family stories,” says Ms. Jane Cabarrus, founder and driving force behind the annual observances on the Eastern Shore of Virginia for almost two decades. “Knowing where we came from can help us get to where we need to be.”
Both the Juneteenth Festival and the Gospel Extravaganza are free, and open to everyone on the ESVA. There is ample free parking nearby. The Exmore Town Park has a limited number of benches and sitting areas for the older generation and a large playground for children. Those attending the event are advised to bring lawn chairs. State and local officials will be participating. For more information, please contact Jane Cabarrus at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the ESVA Juneteenth Facebook page.