COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County will celebrate Juneteenth 2021 with pageants, music and vendors added to the traditional parade.
Longtime organizer Terri James said this year’s event on Saturday, June 19, also will move to a new location at Legion Field in Covington after years at other locations.
Juneteenth is the name given to the celebration of the date June 19, 1865.
The date is when Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, to tell those still enslaved there that the Civil War had ended and President Abraham Lincoln had freed them with the Emancipation Proclamation a year and a half earlier.
Newton County’s Saturday celebration of the event is set to begin at 9 a.m. with a parade beginning at Legion Field at 3173 Mill St. in Covington.
The parade grand marshals will be T.K. and Louise Adams.
T.K. Adams served as band director at Cousins Middle School for 36 years. He founded the Newton County Community Band in 1993 and served as its director.
Mrs. Adams retired as principal of Ficquett Elementary School after serving as a teacher at Cousins Middle and the old and new Porterdale schools. Both were very active in community and civic organizations.
Those interested in being in the parade can email GeorgiaJuneteenth@gmail.com.
Other events are set to include:
• Live music, vendors, car games, poetry and more is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. at Legion Field.
• “Bad Hatters” and “Senior King and Queen Walk” is scheduled for 3 p.m.
• Miss Juneteenth Pageant for ages 7 to 18 is set for 5 p.m. at Legion Field. The deadline for entries has already passed.
• Free Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Care4All Community Care Inc.
Many of the hats featured in the “Bad Hatters” competition — for which winning entries will be judged on beauty, style and creativity — will come from the collection of fellow organizer Constance Marks, she said.
Marks is a Washington, D.C.-area resident who has returned to her Covington hometown to visit family periodically since moving there in the early 1970s.
“I love Covington,” Marks said. “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t come back so much.”
She said she became involved in the event after James sought her assistance after James helped Marks with a fundraiser for Marks’ mother.
James has organized the local celebration since 2012 at such locations as Nelson Heights Community Center.
She credited County Commissioner Alana Sanders with helping organize a pageant and encouraging more volunteers to participate in Juneteenth after James spent years being a primary organizer of the event in Covington.
She noted that her nonprofit organization, the Newton County Historical Committee on Black Heritage Preservation, was formed in 2012 and organizes other events. Its signature fundraiser is its Black History Scholarship Gala in February.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/JuneteenthofGeorgia or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (404) 889-6941.