After being rescheduled due to rain, West Point holds Juneteenth event

Published 8:41 am Tuesday, July 13, 2021

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WEST POINT — Saturday’s weather was hot, but at least it wasn’t raining like it was when the 2021 Juneteenth Celebration was originally planned. With fair weather, the event went off without a hitch at River Park. Children enjoyed cooling off on the splash pad while adults enjoyed sampling the food and cold drinks while listening to the smooth sounds of the Atlanta-based PHD Jazz Band.

Approximately 35 vendors were set up under tents offering everything from beauty products to wooden wall hangers and yard signs.

The jazz band has been together for the past 15 years and do great work with cover music, classic jazz and rhythm & blues. Members include Rodney Allen on keyboards, Taevious Elder on guitar, Gerald Holland on the saxophone, Dennis Gladden on the bass guitar and Richard King on the drums. Vocalists for the band were Connie Daniels and the husband and wife team of Charles and Ronya Barksdale.

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At 2 p.m., Trudy Johnson and Pastor Kelsey Barnes of the Greater Valley Area Juneteenth Committee presented the cash awards to this year’s poster and essay contest winners. Ten-year-old Marleigh Shiver of Valley received $100 for winning the poster contest. She will be entering the sixth grade this year at LaFayette Lanier Elementary School. Recent Lanett High graduate Erin Darden received $100 for winning first place in the essay contest. She will be attending the University of West Alabama this fall. The second-place award in the essay contest went to Juan Hernandez and third place to Nyasia Stanford.

One of the more popular stopping places for food was C&C Wraps and More, where Carlos Welch, Phil Andrews and Cecil Murray were cooking pig tails, sausage, ribs and catfish. They also had some freshly fried pork skins. Long lines of people cooled off from a hot day at Mama Val’s Lemonade & More.

Adrian Carpenter, Brad Thomas and Shannon Boyd of the Chambers County Circle of Care Center for Families were underneath a tent and talking to people about the services they offer. The Circle of Care seeks to make Chambers County a place where children are protected and loved, individuals are respected, families empowered and the community valued.

Librarian Mary Hamilton and Archivist Robin Watson of Bradshaw-Chambers County Library talked with people about this year’s very successful Summer Reading Program. Over 400 local youngsters have signed up for the various challenges. At 7 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 23, a movie will be shown on the library lawn. The Jungle Book movie from 2016, which is rated PG, will be shown on a 16-foot screen provided by Auburn Productions.

“Bring your chairs, blankets, snacks or dinner,” Hamilton said.

It’s being sponsored by the Chattahoochee Federal Credit Union. For more information, call (334) 768-2161.

Also promoting a love for reading at Saturday’s event was The Jungle Bus of LaGrange. The Jungle Bus is a community bookmobile jointly sponsored by the Troup County School System and United Way Success by 6. Children love to board the bus and leave with a free book.

Karen Johnson had a display of the many Avon products she sells in Atlanta. She’s originally from Lanett.

“It’s good to be back home and around hometown people,” she said.

Travena Hodo of West Point had all kinds of jewelry on sale for $5. She’s also a paparazzi cook.

Natalie Callaway of LaGrange had wall hangers and keyholders made of plywood and bearing the logos of local high school and college teams. There’s also some with religious messages.

Dave Shirley of Dave Shirley Photography in Lanett, had an impressive collection of yard signs on sale for $15 each. They have the logos of your favorite teams plus themes of the fall and Christmas seasons. In the continuing spirit of Juneteenth, Bradshaw-Chambers County Library is having an online Juneteenth Challenge this summer. It began on June 14 and continues through July 25. There’s still time to register at Those who do can learn about the history of Juneteenth and earn electronic badges and tickets for prize drawings.

Activity highlights include learning about the Tuskegee Airmen and taking a virtual tour to the site, a word search, freedom quilt crafting and a suggested book list.