Music is on the agenda for the 18th annual Juneteenth Freedom Festival from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday in Donaldsonville’s Louisiana Square.
Juneteenth celebrations commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union Gen. Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, that all slaves had been freed by proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln. It came more than 21/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, signed on Sept. 22, 1862, organizer Tamiko Francis Garrison said.
Garrison started organizing the festival three years ago when the River Road African American Museum’s funding was cut for the event.
Garrison was a natural fit to pick up the festivities, she said, because it was her mother, Janet Francis, who organized Donaldsonville’s first Juneteenth festival after then-Mayor B.J. Francis, Garrison’s father, decided it was time for the city to host a Juneteenth event.
The city of Donaldsonville is hosting the festival thanks to a $5,000 grant, she said.
Garrison and Allison Hudson, head of the Donaldsonville Area Chamber of Commerce board, and a festival committee collected donations from area small businesses to add to the grant funding.
“We celebrate music on the day in a family environment,” she said. “Music, especially in the African-American community, brings families together and what better way to celebrate the freedom that came on June 19 all those years ago.”
Wanda August will serve as host for the morning gospel session, which will include a prayer and presentation on the history of Juneteenth at 11 a.m., followed by RRAAM sign language ensemble. Gospel choirs and performers will take the stage from noon to 2 p.m.
Comedian Bigg Sexxy will emcee the rhythm and blues session in the afternoon.
Quiana Lynell and the Lush Life will perform from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Limitless from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Michael Foster Project plays from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and a disc jockey will provide music until 7 p.m.
Food is also on tap for the day.
Fried chicken wings, jambalaya, smoked turkey legs, pork sandwiches, fried turkey wings, nachos, funnel cakes, pies, homemade lemonade, chicken and pasta and other dishes will be on sale.
The event is free.
For information, call Garrison (225) 803-4042 or Hudson at (504) 610-3292.