Juneteenth Festival and Gospel Jam

WOOLWICH TWP. — Come celebrate freedom and the 225th Anniversary of our Underground Railroad site.  HELP Inc. is hosting the area’s biggest Juneteenth Festival and Gospel Jam on June 8, beginning at noon in the Kingsway High School, Lot F (172 Garwin Road).

This free family event will offer enjoyment for everyone with over 100 performers that includes African stilt walkers, musicians, singers, drill teams, professional actors, children’s activities, professional puppeteers, 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 Sonshine Puppets from Washington, D/C. The electric Trumpet Chics and 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 3-30 years old.  Back by popular demand is the memorizing Millicent Sparks as Harriet Tubman.

“Because this is the 225th Anniversary of Mt. Zion, we thought it would be fitting to host our first ever Gospel Jam right after our festival,” said Rev. Sherry Hall, Dir. of Community Programming, HELP, Inc.  Gospel choirs from throughout the Delaware Valley will joyously sing and praise together.

“We want everyone, of every denomination, ethnic background, and socio-economic level to join us and praise God for 225 years,” exclaimed Rev. Langston Washington, Pastor. There will be community choirs, praise teams, soloists, and quartets celebrating this milestone anniversary in high praise.

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 School’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 Colored Troop Soldiers presenting arms at the Mt. Zion cemetery where 13 colored troop soldiers are buried.  Mt. Zion is on the state and national historic records.

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, First Baptist of Swedesboro, and Mt. Zion AME Church. To find out how you can donate, volunteer, file a vending application, or more,  please visit www.helpinc.org, or email inquiries to info@helpinc.org. 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.

4 Responses

    1. It will take place on June 8 with the festival from 12-4 and Gospel Jam from 4-7 at 172 Garwin Road in Woolwich Township. This is behind the high school parking lot.

    1. The location is 172 Garwin Road, Woolwich Township, NJ 08085. This is behind the high school parking lot.

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