Juneteenth celebration success despite heat

By Leslie Radford: Freedom Newspapers

With temperatures in the upper 90s, many area neighborhood children were keeping cool at the swimming pool at Potter’s Park as part of the festivities for the Juneteenth Extravaganza in Clovis on Saturday.
Juneteenth, normally celebrated on June 19 and known as the day slaves were set free in America, is a time for people to celebrate a part of history with food, fun and entertainment, according to event coordinator Candice Tyler.
She said the event was for everyone to observe their history and that Juneteenth may celebrate African-American freedom but emphasizes education and achievement.
“This event is not just for the black community,” Tyler said. “It’s for everybody. This is everybody’s history.”
Eboni Lunsford, 8, knows the meaning behind Juneteenth.
“It’s when the slaves were freed,” she said. “My mommy told me all about it.”
Her mother, Sheila Lunsford, was a vendor at the event. As a people-person, Lunsford said events such as Juneteenth are right up her alley.
“Juneteenth is a statement,” she said. “It’s a statement of our heritage. I’ve been coming here for the last five years just to get out and about with the people and have fun and celebrate how far we have come.”
The Clovis Fire Department was at the event with its Fire Safety House, teaching children about fire safety. Clovis police set up a booth and were handing out goody bags and free firearm locks. And the Curry County Democratic Party set up a booth to encourage people to register to vote. Music played at one end of the park, and at the other end people had been grilling since early morning.
“I got here about 5:30 a.m. and they (his family) were already here getting everything fired up,” said Greg McAdams, who drove from Mesquite, Texas, to help his uncle and other family members cook barbecued ribs and chicken. “There’s no telling how many pounds of grub we go through to feed all these people. But I guarantee you it’ll all be gone by the end of the day.”
Maurice Monson and his wife Betty enjoyed the free barbecue and cobbler while visiting with friends. Betty said this was her first Juneteenth celebration.
“I enjoy getting out with the people,” said Maurice Monson, pastor at Faith Family Christian Church. “I like getting out here and seeing so many people come together. And the food is good, too!”