SAGINAW, MI — Saginaw’s first Miss Juneteenth Pageant is coming to Horizons Conference Center Friday, June 17, beginning a weekend full of special Juneteenth events.
The Saginaw Juneteenth Celebration Committee along with its partners is planning the Saginaw Juneteenth Celebration 2022, a weekend-long celebration to commemorate the national holiday’s first anniversary. In addition to the pageant, event organizers are planning a Juneteenth Freedom Parade, a Juneteenth Father’s Day Festival, NAACP membership drive and voter registration event and more.
Although Black Americans have celebrated Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery, for generations, it did not become a federal holiday until last year. Juneteenth National Independence Day is observed every year on June 19 to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas. That was two months after the Confederacy had surrendered and about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in Southern states.
Here’s a look at what’s to come:
Saginaw’s first Miss Juneteenth Pageant
The Miss Juneteenth Pageant, which also includes Little Miss Juneteenth, is scheduled to take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Horizons Conference Center, 6200 State St. in Saginaw Township.
“It’s a first for Saginaw,” said Renee Hawkins-Morris, Saginaw Juneteenth Celebration Committee chairperson. “Because of Juneteenth being a national holiday…I wanted to step up and do a pageant to celebrate it with the young people, young women.”
Tickets are $25 and on sale now.
Saginaw Miss Juneteenth Pageant Scholarship/ COSBE Inc. is a nonprofit created to “uplift the community through education and unification,” and the scholarship pageant “provides a forum for young women to enhance both self-esteem and self-expression while encouraging cultural awareness,” according to event organizers.
Hawkins-Morris said the pageant and related Juneteenth girls’ club the participants have formed gives Saginaw County girls ages 7 to 14 a platform to develop themselves, become more involved in their community, and learn about the history of Juneteenth.
“Juneteenth encompasses all our history, and they were really excited and interested in our history,” she said.
Here’s a look at what else is happening Juneteenth weekend in Saginaw:
Juneteenth Freedom Parade
The pageant is just the start of the Juneteenth holiday weekend in Saginaw. A Juneteenth Freedom Parade is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 18. The parade route will start at the St. Mary’s north side parking lot and continue along Washington Avenue to Morley Plaza downtown.
Juneteenth Father’s Day Festival
A Juneteenth Father’s Day Festival will take place from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 19, Father’s Day, at Morley Plaza.
Activities will include special guests and speakers, musical and dance performances, games for kids, a Men Who Cook/Juneteenth Cook-Off, African American historians, spoken word, a children’s basketball tournament and other events.
2022 Old Saginaw City Lawn Chair Film Festival begins
The 2022 Old Saginaw City Lawn Chair Film Festival begins on Juneteenth.
The free outdoor summer film festival is scheduled to begin that Sunday with a screening of “The Wiz,” a 1978 adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Nipsey Russell.
Movies are screened at dusk every Sunday in the parking lot corner at the corner of Ames and North Hamilton in Old Town Saginaw.
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