Colleton County’s first Juneteenth celebration leaves its mark

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By Mae Francis Bing

People gathered on the grounds of Colleton High School on Saturday, June 19, to participate in Colleton County’s first Juneteenth celebration.

The festival featured a variety of vendors: participants could choose from clothes, arts and crafts, and even cold treats to cool off. The air was filled with music from the local radio station and laughter.

The festival was created by Walterboro businesswoman Latosia Simmons and her non-profit organization, Women & Power. She and volunteers in her non-profit began planning the Juneteenth Festival several months ago in April.

“In the upcoming celebrations, we want to have more vendors, different entertainment and different locations for the events to take place. I’m so proud how we all came together. We’re going to just keep on keeping on,” Simmons said.

The highlight of the afternoon was a preview performance from the 40+ Double Dutch Club. The club is a group of women ages 40 and older who get together to relive old childhood memories, create new ones, and stay fit. “We really wanted them to come be with us today. Jump rope years ago represented coming together. It represents so much positivity,” Simmons said. The club has multiple locations in all states as well as international. Their oldest members are about 82.

“We love being out here today. We understand that this is the first Juneteenth celebration. It was important to come out and support. We also do a lot of community events. We’re all for making fun and supporting communities,” said Michelle Joshua, captain of the Concord, N.C., club.

Simmons along with other members of the organization would like to thank everyone for showing their support and making the celebration a success. “We’re excited for the future celebrations,” Simmons said.

Juneteenth celebrates June 19, 1865, the day Major General Gordon Granger informed Texas that all enslaved people were free.

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