With sweet potato pies and folksy games like dominoes and hopscotch, Broward County residents are tapping into a festive tradition that dates back to the abolition of slavery.
Juneteenth honors the day that a Union general galloped into Texas with the emancipation order that freed the last of the slaves. That was June 19, 1865.
It's an event that some say deserves status as a national holiday, according to the Rev. Ronald Myers of Mississippi, chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. Like July Fourth, June 19 is a celebration of independence, he says: "We need to celebrate as a nation that we overcame slavery."
In Lauderdale Lakes, the Broward County branch library and the city's recreation department are teaming up for an array of Juneteenth activities on June 14. In addition to hand-churned ice cream, horseshoes, and a sweet-potato-pie contest, the event features a slew of entertainers.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Vincent Torres Park (4331 NW 36th St., Lauderdale Lakes). Admission is free. The pie contest (entry forms are due June 12) and some other tournaments require a $1 entry fee. Call 954-535-2785. -- Patti Roth
Mango Tango We have mangoes today
What do gospel singers and marching bands have in common? Well, other than "music," what both of them share is mangoes. Every year, the City of Deerfield Beach celebrates all that is right with the tropical fruit during its Mango Festival. Entertainment for the event has consistently been culled from the worlds of gospel and R&B. Ginuwine heads the R&B contingent. His most recent album, The Senior, features guest spots by alleged child pornographer R. Kelly and convicted rapist Mike Tyson. Now that's sexy. Headlining the more righteous entertainment is ten-time Grammy winner Shirley Caesar. The two-day event kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Tickets each day cost $10 for adults, $7 for children ages 3 to 12. Call 954-480-4433. -- Dan Sweeney