WOOLWICH — Are you looking for a truly joyful celebration of African and African-American culture for Juneteenth? HELP Inc. is hosting the area’s biggest Juneteenth Celebration on June 17 from noon to 4 p.m. in Lot F of the Kingsway High School. Lot F is located on Garwin Rd.
This free family event will offer enjoyment for everyone with over 100 performers that includes African stilt walkers, musicians, singers, drill teams, step teams, professional actors, children’s activities, African face painting, vendors, yummy food, historic tours, vendors, and much more.
People of various ages and backgrounds will gather to celebrate America’s “real” Freedom Day. Swedesboro’s Juneteenth Celebration is the area’s best because of its extraordinary talent line up and its location. Headliners include the critically acclaimed Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble, Trumpet Chics, and the Sophisticated Sisters Dance and Drum Corp.
The electric Trumpet Chics, fusion jazz dance band will have the audience dancing in the aisles. The Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble will amaze audiences with over 40 African dancers, stilt walkers, and drummers, from 3 to 30 years old.
The Camden Sophisticated Sisters, a 40 member dance, step, and drum ensemble that has received recognition from Oprah Winfrey, Good Morning America, and CBS This Morning, will give a riveting performance.
Juneteenth is a state and national holiday celebrating the ending of slavery in America. “We believe the best place to celebrate freedom is here in Woolwich Township, because we celebrate at an Underground Railroad site,” said Rev. Sherry Lynn Hall, Dir. of Community Programming, HELP, Inc.
Mt. Zion AME, across from Kingsway High’s lot, was an important Underground Railroad site. “You do not need to be African-American to appreciate African-American history and culture. We are celebrating, and we want everyone to come celebrate with us.”
Black history is American history, and this Juneteenth Celebration will make it come alive. To highlight this area’s history, the day will begin at noon with tours of Mt. Zion AME Church and a Union Soldier presentation.
Mt. Zion is on the state and national historic records. The audience will be moved by a reenactment of William Still (professional actor, Melvin Johnson) an operator and financier of the Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. William Corsey III will tell the story of his ancestor who escaped from a Maryland plantation and became a member of the church. He is buried with other exslaves, abolitionists, and 13 Colored Troop soldiers in Mt. Zion’s cemetery.
No matter how hot it is outside, spectators will stay cool under a huge tent. There will be lots of food, drinks, and snacks to sample and enjoy. Area vendors will showcase their unique products and services. Local and regional performers will round out the festivities for three immersive hours. Youngsters will enjoy treats and activities in the Children’s Tent, and get their faces painted.
This event is sponsored by HELP, Inc., a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization which provides African-American educational and cultural programming and preserves three African-American historic sites in Swedesboro/Woolwich Township. Individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations are welcome to join its inclusive mission.
Other sponsors include the Women’s Progressive Club, Woolwich Township, and the Holcomb Bus Company. To find out how you can donate, volunteer, file a vending application, or more, please visit www.helpinc.org, or email inquiries to email@example.com. Check out its Facebook page (Swedesboro Juneteenth Celebration) for updates about this year’s powerful event.
Funding has been made possible in part by the Gloucester County Cultural & Heritage Commission of Rowan College of South Jersey, and the New Jersey Historical Commission / Department of State.