Chadakoin Park was alight with excitement and activity as the second day of Juneteenth festivities got underway.
With a parade, a ceremony full of talented performers, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and plenty of activities, Saturday was a busy day for participants and organizers alike.
The parade kicked off at 10 a.m. from Seventh Street and arrived at Chadakoin Park in high fashion. Members of the Emmanuel Baptist Junior Choir and local officials such as Elizabeth Rankin, county legislator, and Greg Rabb, City Council president, marched in the parade alongside representatives of the Jamestown Police Department and the Jamestown Fire Department.
“We’ve done something a little different this year,” said Vickye James, member of the Juneteenth Committee.
She introduced the newly crowned king and queen of Juneteenth to the crowd, who were met with cheers and applause.
“I think they’re going to be future politicians, because last night (at the dance) they were campaigning for themselves,” James said with a laugh.
Afterward, members of the Emmanuel Baptist Junior Choir stood and sang the National Anthem, and the entire troupe got on stage to perform “Shackles (Praise You)” to the delight of the audience.
A young member of the choir took the microphone after the performance and spoke heartfelt words of empathy for those affected by the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.
“You know, when something bad happens, you may not know the people, but you just want to hug them,” she said, adding that what had happened was horrifying.
However, the victims still had forgiveness in their hearts, she said. “Those people were so kind, and loving.”
A round of applause followed, and James took up the microphone, adding that she was glad the topic had been brought up.
“We have to have forgiveness,” she said. “Someone said to me in the midst of my anger one day, ‘Look down at your hands and feet. Where are your holes? If you are willing to climb up on a cross and die for me, then keep your grudge.’”
James said she was very thankful for all the effort the community had put forth to make the event possible, including the committee members, businesses involved and all those who had come out to the event.
Ron James, organizer of the 3-on-3 basketball tournament, said that it was nice to have a beautiful festival where everyone could come together in the park.
“Since Juneteenth started, (the basketball tournament) has been an integral part of it,” James said. “It brings in a lot of spectators and gives both adults and kids a chance to participate. They all really enjoy it.”
He added that there were anywhere from 25 to 30 teams signed up to play, and more were signing up as the day went on.
“We’ll have first- and second-place prizes,” James said. “Then, we’ll have an intermission with a pick-up game of flag football. It gives them all something to do.”
He added that it was a great experience to have in the neighborhood because everyone could come down and enjoy themselves together.
“You’re just a person out to have fun,” James said.
Pastor Chloe Smith, a member of the Juneteenth Committee, said Juneteenth was just one of the many good things happening in Jamestown.
“I want people to recognize that there is something new going on in the city,” she said. “There is a restoration, and a reconciliation coming. (Juneteenth) is a time for the community to come together to celebrate the freedom we are fortunate to have in the United States of America.”
Smith has been a part of planning the celebration, and said Sunday holds just as much fun as the other two days of the festival.
“We’re going to be having our Carolyn Louise Pennamon-Faison Gospel Festival at 3 p.m. in the park,” she said. “We’ll have all kinds of local musicians, like Steve Davis and a performance by the Emmanuel Baptist Youth Choir, as well as the Blackwell Chapel Youth Choir. All the churches and all the youth are coming together for a performance as well.”
There will also be a morning worship service at 9 a.m., which Smith will be preaching at, she said. A continental breakfast will be served at 8 a.m., and the basketball tournament will pick up at around 11 a.m.
“We’d just like to send out our appreciation to Dave Warren. He contributed to our event considerably,” Smith said. “Today, we’ve had Jamestown community come down, Ted Price is playing music and the bounce house has been provided by Scott Mekus of Eventz by Scott. We’re just very grateful for them.”
She also invited the community to stop down to see the plans for the improvements to Chadakoin Park.
“We have a plan up (in the park) so everyone can see it,” she said. “The community has been enthusiastic, and we hope they continue to be supportive because we have to raise a lot of money $200,000. We need their creativity, their support and their energy.”
Original article by The Post-Journal.