LIMA - On the outside of things, it might look like another city festival.
But a few extra touches make this year's Juneteenth celebration historically and culturally significant.
"Juneteenth" celebrates the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the document which officially ended slavery in the United States. Even though the document was signed in Jan. 1, 1863, Juneteenth commemorates the time it took the news of emancipation to reach slaves in all states (slaves in Texas did not receive the news until June 19, 1865).
The last Juneteenth celebration in Lima was in 2005, said this year's event chairwoman Vickie Shurelds. To Shurelds and others, reinstating the event felt like an important task.
"We just thought, ‘Why are we the only community that is not celebrating one of the greatest victories that ever happened in America?'" she said. "It seems to me that we should acknowledge every positive thing that has happened to try and pull our nation together into a solid entity."
To that end, Shurelds and the Juneteenth committee have composed a line up of fun and informative activities. Throughout the day, various actors will portray famous African-American leaders, from Sojourner Truth to Frederick Douglass to Martin Luther King Jr. in dramatic reenactments. Also powerful, the 1 p.m. opening ceremony will be an unforgettable experience for those in attendance, Shurelds said.
Juneteenth attendees can also participate in sporting events, including a three-on-three basketball tournament at the Bradfield Center and baseball and softball tournaments. Artistic events will include a cronk dance contest, "American Karaoke Idol" and a "rims and candy paint" car contest. Finally, for food enthusiasts, Juneteenth will host a "Big Poppa Cook-off" and a "Big Mama Bake-off."
Shurelds said the variety of fun should keep people entertained throughout the day.
"We've got entertainment all day long," she said. "We have gospel music and rap and a mixture of those, we have dancers and pantomime. It truly runs the gamut. Every second from noon to 8 p.m. is action-packed."
WHEN: Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Faurot Park, Lima
FOR MORE INFO: Call 567-204-5200, or visit Sharp Cuts II at 728 S. Main St. for contest registration information.
Noon: Festival opens
1 p.m.: Opening ceremony
3 p.m.: Cook-off and bake-off, basketball tournament
4 p.m.: Baseball and softball tournaments
5 p.m.: Judging for "Rims and Candy Paint" contest, Talented Princess Pageant
6 p.m.: "American Karaoke Idol"
7 p.m.: Cronk dance contest
7:30 p.m.: Closing ceremony, awards presentations