Juneteenth is a time to celebrate the freedom of African Americans. The festivial celebrates the opening of a door full of opportunities.
The City of Grambling outlined five days of activities to celebrate the freedom day. After the well attended opening ceremony Wednesday, June 14 community and area comers had four additional days for celebrating.
On Thursday June 15 Grambling’s town saw 12 young ladies take full advantages of those opportunities as they competed in the Annual Miss Juneteenth pageant. The pageant consisted of three divisions; Little Miss Juneteenth; Miss Junior Juneteenth; and Miss Juneteenth. The pageant committee arranged the pageant so each division competed in modeling, talent, and eveningwear.
All contestants in each division magically performed and caught the attention of each audience member. The contestant received oohs, awhs, and applauds, but as you know in the end there was only one winner from each category.
Anitra Milford was crowned Little Miss Juneteenth. She won the style and talent award in her division. Anitra amazed the audience as she modeled with confidence and walked flawlessly in her high heel shoes. For her talent, she performed a praise dance to the gospel song, "Thirst for You." First Runner up was Elizabeth Harris, second runner- up was Makayla Lewis, and third runner-up was Kerra Bush.
Each contestant was excited about the competition. Milford said her favorite part was modeling. "The pageant was great and I enjoyed it," Elizabeth Harris said.
In the Junior Division, the title went to Ariel Smith, a native of Jonesboro. She was very vivacious in the modeling competition and was outstanding in her talent. Harrell performed a beautiful keyboard piece. Other winners in this category were First runner-up Maya Robertson, second- runner up Elisha Collinsworth and third runner-up went to Cierra Bush. Harrell said, "This was truly a learning experience, and she had fun."
Demetria Jaggers captured the title of Miss Juneteenth as well as the style and talent award. Jaggers performed a dance to "Maria Maria" from the Broadway play West Side Story. First runner-up and winner of the self-expression competition was Jennifer Sinnie, a junior at Grambling State University. Second runner-up was Gaiarta Dupree and third runner-up was Zanice Wagner.
Jaggers said winning the title has brought a feeling of pride as she thought about all of her ancestors who died fighting for her freedom, considering that freedom was the occasion for the celebration. Jaggers entered the pageant to take a break from school and just to have fun. Demetria is a nursing major at Grambling State. She is "elated to have received this honor, and will reign with pride."
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc sponsored the event, and Kedron Dodson was the master of ceremony. The pageant was once again a success. All the constants and contributors made the pageant successful.
Friday marked another opportunity for the community to gather and enjoy the All Star Softball game held at Sam E. Walton Field.
Saturday, June 17 held a number of activities for everyone to enjoy. The day kicked off the Juneteenth Parade. For those who love the sun and baseball a game was on the agenda. Throughout the day activities were available for everyone, from street vendors to the horse show, there were even activities for the children to take part in.
The cook-off brought out a number of participants, some came to show their skills while others made an appearance to take what the skills could do.
The cook-off had a rib and chicken winner and then an overall winner. Lloyd took the crown for the rib contest and Gary Dupree walked away with the chicken and overall winner title.