Mount Dora will join other communities across the country by hosting a Juneteenth Jubilee on Saturday, June 18. This year the annual family-friendly festival will be held at Cauley Lott Park from noon to 6 p.m.
The free community event will feature vendors, food, and live music including local artist Ruth King and Soul Therapy. There will also be cake walks, prize giveaways, face painting, balloon art, and water slides for the kids. Juneteenth, the oldest celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., has been a tradition since the late 19th century and is now recognized in at least 43 states.
June 19, known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Emancipation Day, is the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865. Although Abraham Lincoln freed all slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, Texas was geographically remote and its slave owners ignored the new law. Only Texas slaves that escaped could enjoy freedom in the North.
June 19 marks the date Union General Gordon Granger arrived on Galveston Island with 2,000 troops to establish a federal presence in Texas and officially free its slaves.
Today, community Juneteenth festivals celebrate African-American freedom and achievement, encourage respect for all cultures, and strive to create new bonds of friendship and understanding. Celebrations often include public BBQs, live music, readings of the Emancipation Proclamation and singing of traditional spirituals.
Cauley Lott Park is located at 1717 N. Highland Street in Mount Dora.