Contributing writer Although the weather was a bit rainy, people of the Grambling community and surrounding areas came out to celebrate the Juneteenth Festival. With the help of various people, companies and organizations, Grambling’s mayor stated the festival turned out to be a huge success.
There were several events planned for adults and children to enjoy. Some of the community may have predicted people would have stayed at home to avoid the raindrops, but according to Mayor Martha Andrus, it was the biggest turnout ever. The festival began June 13 and ended June 17.
The Town of Grambling’s Mayor Andrus said, “A lot of people enjoyed the excitement and the attendance is increasing every year.” Andrus was affiliated with all of the planning for the festival, along with Sentoria Black and Mary Ellis. Andrus attended all scheduled events as well. The expenses for the festival increased compared to last year’s expenses. But with the contributions that Grambling received, it wasn’t difficult at all.
Some sponsors that gave assistance are as follows: Creed & Creed, Church’s Fried Chicken, Entergy, Coca Cola, Fox33, Tony’s Chachere and the Shreveport Federal Credit Union. Their funds helped to promote the competitions, food, games and a concert for entertainment as well. The special guest for the concert was blues singer Bobby Rush. Even though the softball game was cancelled because of the damp areas, the other activities were thrilling.
In the barbecue cook-off there was a tie for first place between Cecil Ferguson and Anthony Polluck. Earlo Anderson was also a winner.
Other special events were the fishing contest, the parade, the watermelon feast, special prayer meeting, and most of all the Miss Juneteenth Pageant. Hazel Hunter and Nicholas Andrus won the fishing contests.
The pageant was sponsored by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and the chairperson was Ada Joseph
The reigning Little Miss Juneteenth is Bryia Hoskins, Junior Miss Juneteenth is Alexis Sims, and Miss Juneteenth is Crystal Helton. The winners received a savings bond and a basket filled with treats. The pageant featured daywear, eveningwear, talent, and questionnaire.
Crystal said, “I enjoyed working with all the girls and since it was my second pageant I was able to cope with my stage fright.” Crystal will attend Clark Atlanta and major in political science.
Other winners include Camille Collingsworth, who received the talent award in the Miss Junteteenth and Junior Miss Juneteenth divisions for her dance. Doing sign language, Lauren Washington won Best Talent for Little Miss Juneteenth.
The judges were selected from the local area. If anyone was interested in being a judge or volunteer, the procedure was to let the committee know in advance. During the festival, security was well-enforced. Grambling even received help from the Sheriff’s Department.
People from the community made special remarks about the festival. When mother and daughter Sandra and Garielle Dupree were asked about their experience, they were eager and ready to talk.
“I attended the parade, the pageant, and concert and the whole setting was well-organized. The activities were really neat and the rain helped cool things off,” Sandra said.
Garielle seem to share her mother’s thoughts about the festival.
“I enjoyed meeting new people, and I was a participant in the fishing tournament,” she said.
When asked how can it be more exciting for children her age, Garielle stated inviting someone famous to perform for a concert with the most popular and hottest music.
The Duprees felt the 2007 Juneteenth Festival was a great celebration for Black heritage, and the Grambling community looks forward to another great Juneteenth Festival next summer.