By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free, two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became official on January 1, 1863.”
CORINTH – Miss Mississippi 2007 Kimberly Morgan is the featured guest for area residents who are “Stepping Up and Stepping Out” to begin June 19-20 celebrations of Juneteenth in Corinth.
Events kick off at 7 p.m. Friday, June 19, when guests are invited to stroll the red carpet into the Corinth Coliseum Civic Center for presentation of the Peoples Choice Awards, hosted by Tupelo radio personality Stan Allen.
“People in the community have nominated and voted on individuals and organizations in various categories, including businesses, religious groups, civic groups, youths and individuals, and these are the ‘Peoples Choice Awards’ we’ll be handing out,” said Rebecca Spence, one of the event organizers. “Then we’ll also give our special awards to deserving individuals and organizations, something we keep a secret until that night.”
Featured entertainer Morgan will perform a musical selection, and also give a brief talk.
Morgan majored in vocal music education at Alcorn State University and represented Mississippi in the January 2008 Miss America Pageant. She currently teaches music in Marks at the Madison Palmer School.
Tickets for the event are $10 per person, and no charge for children age 12 and younger. They can be purchased at the door the night of the event, or in advance at Project Attention, Darlene’s Hair Salon, Patterson Funeral Home, Jake’s Barber Shop and The Alliance.
“Our master of ceremonies is Stan Allen, whom everybody enjoyed last year with his great sense of humor,” Spence said.
There is still time to nominate someone for Peoples Choice honors through Wednesday, and ballots are available at the same locations listed above as well as local churches and the Corinth Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“We are recognizing people in the community who truly make a difference,” Spence said.
Another way the Minority Volunteers Organization and other sponsoring organizations are asking people in the community to make a difference is to volunteer with the “100 Men of Corinth” and “100 Women of Corinth” to help with mentoring and civic projects throughout the year.
Celebrations continue Saturday at E.S. Bishop Park when cooking teams pit their best efforts against each other at preparing beef, fish, pork, chicken and wild game.
A popular music group, the Partlow Drummers of Tupelo, will provide entertainment, and there will be a variety of outdoor activities and numerous categories of vendors.
Registration is $25 per cooking team and $25 for a vendor space, and registration forms may be obtained at Project Attention, 1102 S. John St., Corinth.
“We want everyone who participates, including the vendors, to register by June 10 so we can be sure there is adequate space,” Spence said.
Contact Lena Mitchell at 287-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Juneteenth gala celebration
– What: Stepping Up and Stepping Out Gala
– When: 7 p.m. Friday, June 19
– Where: Coliseum Civic Center, Taylor and Cruise streets, Corinth
– Admission: $10; ages 12 and younger free
– Other features: Peoples Choice and other awards presented; hosted by Tupelo radio personality Stan Allen; entertainment by 2007 Miss Mississippi Kimberly Morgan, the Crossroad Steppers dance group and Volante Johnson; reception to follow; formal attire requested.
– What: Juneteenth Cookoff and Community Festival
– When: Beginning 10 a.m. June 20
– Where: E.S. Bishop Park, 1100 block South John Street, Corinth
– Admission: No charge, but cooking teams pay a $25 entry fee for the cooking contest.
– Other features: Entertainment by the Partlow Drummers; food and other vendors; raffle of a 1983 Nissan “hoopty” car (usually a broken down junk car, but this one has been brought back to life); prize money for winning cooking team in each of five categories – beef, fish, pork, chicken and wild game.
– For more information: Call Project Attention at (662) 287-5200, or (662) 284-5004.