A line of gleaming Corvettes kicked off the annual Juneteenth Celebration Saturday morning.
The Corvette Club of Salisbury and the Carolina Motorcycle Club of Cleveland led the first Juneteenth parade from Livingstone College to Kelsey Scott Park.
The parade featured 40-plus units and caught many people by surprise.
“This is the first year we did the parade. A lot of people didn’t know about it,” said Sherry Hawthorne, president of the Juneteenth Committee. Hawthorne said it’s all about doing positive things for the community. Proceeds from the event are used to help provide free school supplies when students return to school and also support the Juneteenth event next year.
The celebration commemorates the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865. Nationwide, it is celebrated on June 19. Local organizers have opted to hold the event on Saturdays to allow more local residents to attend.
The local celebration featured a day of activities at Kelsey Park.
State Sen. Kay Hagan of Greensboro, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, joined the festivities and made a brief speech Saturday morning. Hagan is trying to unseat incumbent GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole.
While there were speeches, most of the attention of the participants was on the various activities, including entertainment, music, mini-plays and lots of vendors.
Glenn Ford, a Salisbury police officer and deejay, set up sound equipment and got the music going at the park shortly after 8 a.m.
His 12-year-old son, Dra Cowan, who has been playing drums since he was 5-years-old, had a fun day. He played drums throughout the day.
DJ Majesty Entertainment & Dra performed for the several hundred who stopped by the park.
The daylong event concluded with a horseshoe tournament, car and bike shows.
Hawthorne thanked all of the sponsors, vendors and participants in helping to make the event a success.
Hawthorne, who works third shift at the Big Elm Nursing Center in Kannapolis, came straight from her all-night job to help with the event.
Among the sponsors were First Legacy Federal Credit Union, Food Lion, Enterprise, Cheerwine, Wal-Mart and the city of Salisbury Parks and Recreation Department.The theme for the 2008 edition was “The Celebration of Family and Community.” She noted that as the communities continue to grow, the committee wants to grow the Juneteenth Celebration to make it more than an African-American holiday ó to make it a communitywide event.