JOPLIN, Mo. —
2013 is not the average year for an event celebrating Emancipation Day.
"This is the 150th anniversary of Emancipation Day, so this is a big thing," said Jim West, chairman of the Emancipation Park Day Committee.
Signed by President Abraham Lincoln on the first day of 1863, the proclamation gave freedom to slaves in 10 states still fighting during the Civil War. Though it didn't make slavery illegal, it clearly identified its elimination as a goal of that war.
In honor of the milestone, West said this year's Park Day events would include a few new events, including:
Several of Joplin's milestone black people will be honored. These people were Joplin's first black police officer, council member, etc., West said.
"These people were firsts in their field," West said. "They left a legacy that we carry on, so this is a whole new tribute for us."
- A recitation of the Emancipation Proclamation by an actor re-enacting Lincoln.
- A 3-on-3 basketball tournament and clinic for kids.
A regular feature on hiatus for three years will also return. The Marching Cobras, of Kansas City, will perform their marching percussion show. Entertainment includes blues concerts by Dues Paid Band and Theo Reynolds Blues Revue.
Events will be held at Ewert Park from Friday until Sunday.
Want to go?
The following events are part of Annual Park Day, organized by the Emancipation Celebration Committee. The schedule of events will be held at Ewert Park and feature the following:
6 p.m.: Opening ceremonies, poetry by Edgar Rollins, proclamation reading by Patrick Barham, recognition of special honorees and giveaways
9 p.m.: Old School Jam under the main pavilion
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Basketball tournament and clinic for kids
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Car show
Noon: Dominoes tournament
6 p.m.: Marching Cobras
7 p.m. to midnight: Dues Paid Band
1 to 3 p.m.: Free swim
3 to 4 p.m.: Picnic for kids at main pavilion
3 to 5 p.m.: Magic shows, balloon animals and family games
5 p.m.: Demonstrations from emergency service providers
7 p.m.: Theo Reynolds Blues Revue