This year marks the 124th observance of Emancipation Day. Festivities begin Friday evening, August 2, and continue through Sunday afternoon, August 4. Beginning in 1889 the Black Community of Hutchinson, Kansas has annually celebrated the January 1, 1863 issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. By signing the Emancipation Proclamation President Lincoln initiated the legal process that resulted in the total abolition of slavery in the United States with the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
8 – 10 p.m. Soul in the Park
Salt City Soul, a group of Hutchinson natives, will perform in Ave. A Park, on the corner of Main and A. The concert is from 8-10, and includes a hot dog feed. “Soul in the Park” is made possible through a partnership of the Emancipation Day Committee, Downtown Hutchinson and the Hutchinson/Reno County Arts and Humanities Council.
After 10 p.m.
After the concert the evening continues with more music, community, and fun at Gray’s Barbershop, 501 S. Main St., the corner of Main and Ave. E.
7:30 a.m. – 3 on 3 basketball tournament at Ave E and Main
10 a.m. – Emancipation Day parade
The 2013 Parade Marshall is the Dr. Mildred, Director of the Governor’s Commission on African American Affairs. The parade route runs from 12th Ave. and Main St. to Ave. F and Main St. The parade will include numerous local groups and also marching groups from out of town.
noon – Community Picnic
At the conclusion of the parade the public is invited to the Home Builder’s Building in Carey Park for the Free Community Picnic. After a welcome from local dignitaries and remarks by the Grand Marshal the picnic will begin at approximately noon.
9 p.m. – Old School Jam Dance
Saturday evening the always popular “Old School Jam Dance” will take place at the Sunflower North Building on the Fairgrounds. Use the 23rd and Main St. Entrance. The event is BYOB, and is a fundraiser for the Emancipation Day Committee; admission is $18.00 per couple and $10.00 for a single.
3 p.m. – Gospel Fest
The “Gospel Fest” will be at the Stringer Fine Arts Center on 11th Avenue on the HCC campus. The free concert features local and regional Gospel Choirs. Everyone is invited to stay afterwards for free ice cream and cake.
The Emancipation Day Celebration Committee is a volunteer non-profit organization that derives its funding through fundraising efforts as well as donations from private and corporate sources, and with support from the City of Hutchinson’s Cultural Activity Fund. The Committee consists of twelve board members with approximately 30 community members actively working with the Board on Committee projects.
Although the Emancipation Day Celebration has its origins in the unique historic experience of Black America these events are open to people of all races to celebrate and enjoy. The public is encouraged to attend.