Juneteeth

George Green speaks to the crowd gathered at Ernest Eikel Park during the Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 8, 2019. Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of the last enslaved people of the United States.

For the second consecutive year, New Braunfels’ annual Juneteenth celebration will be hosted on the same day and at the same site.

Juneteenth marks the date — June 19, 1865 — when Union troops commanded by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, bringing the news, albeit a few months late, that the Civil War was over and all slaves were freed.

New Braunfels’ fifth annual Juneteenth Jubilee will be celebrated from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 19 at Rivers Den Resort, 388 St. Mary Street in New Braunfels.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. After years between celebrations, the event was revived locally with the first three Jubilees hosted at Ernest Eikel Field and JAWS Skate Park on Grape Avenue.

Former New Braunfels City Council Member George Green is again sponsoring the three-hour event, which will feature music, a guest speaker and a luncheon featuring Rudy’s Barbecue, snacks, beverages and Blue Bell Ice Cream that begins around 11:30 a.m.

“Every so often you have to make a change,” Green said of the barbecue fare, which replaces the usual fried chicken served at previous Juneteenth events. “We’re happy to have Rudy’s as a sponsor.”

Gospel music artists and various bands will perform before and after the address by the guest speaker, Rev. Dr. Terrance J. McClain, administrative pastor at New Life Fellowship Church in Seguin and a professor at Texas State University in San Marcos.

Other sponsors include Arlans’ Grocery Market, Blue Bell Creameries, Seguin NAACP, RE/MAX River Cities; Rivers Den Resort owner Mark Anthony. Co-sponsors Stars & Stripes Dive-In Theatre and Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts will be handing out free tickets.

“I particularly want to thank the sponsors,” Green said. “We’ve come through an especially tough year, with the COVID-19 virus, and we thank them for sticking with us, and also Schlitterbahn and Stars & Stripes. I tip my hat to all of them.”

Members of churches and Black organizations in Seguin and San Antonio, and New Braunfels Mayor Rusty Brockman are expected to attend the event, which won’t carry a social message but celebrate freedom.

“There’s no correlation between Juneteenth and the other things that are going on,” Green said. “This is simply a reflection of history and a time for freedom for a group of people that received that message. It’s more of a celebration.”

This year there will be a $20 parking fee, which Green said would be offset by free admissions to Stars and Stripes Drive-In and Schlitterbahn.

“It costs to park anywhere in New Braunfels, and the (free admissions) and the dinner are worth well more than that,” Green said.

For more, Green encourages all to RSVP by June 16 by calling him at 830-730-3559.

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