The Johnson County Juneteenth Community Committee will host a day of family fun from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 27 at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center in Iowa City to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States. There is no charge for the event, which will include informational displays, food, live music and entertainment, a health fair, games and activities for the whole family.

"This is our group's fifth year hosting this event, and with it being the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the United States, we have gone all out to provide a variety of informational and fun activities," program coordinator LaTasha DeLoach said. "I am thrilled that we have been able to pull together so many events for both adults and children to honor the strength of those who endured slavery."

The celebration will kick off with a brief presentation that will include a reading of proclamations by the City of Iowa City and Johnson County, followed by a drop of 150 balloons from the ceiling to commemorate the 150th anniversary. The winning essay from the Iowa City Human Rights Commission's Youth Essay and Art Contest may also be read during the opening ceremony. Contest entries, including essays submitted by youth ages 14 to 18 and visual art displays submitted by youth ages 5 to 18, are due by Friday, June 12. To learn more about the contest and prizes, visit http://icjuneteenth.wordpress.com.

Events scheduled throughout the day include an informational display on the history of slavery and black Iowans, coordinated by the African American Museum of Iowa and the Iowa City Public Library; live entertainment by local youth from The Dream Center Performance Art Academy, the Funk Daddies and Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre; and the performance of an original play by local writers and actors. Kids' events will include a puppet show, story time, bouncy house, a "discovery tour" of the Recreation Center's community garden, face painting and water games. 

An indoor health fair will be held, during which small children can receive vision screening and adults can get blood pressure checks at no charge. In addition, attendees may donate blood and explore the resources offered by a variety of local programs.

No-fee parking for the event will be available in the Recreation Center lot and the upper level of Chauncey Swan Parking Garage. Later in the afternoon, attendees may also park in the lower level of Chauncey Swan Parking Garage at no cost.

Event sponsors include the City of Iowa City, the Johnson County Community Partnership for Protecting Children, Johnson County Social Services, the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department, Veridian Credit Union, the Iowa City Human Rights Commission, Southgate Development Co. and New Pioneer Co-op.

For more information, visit http://icjuneteenth.wordpress.com or contact LaTasha DeLoach with Johnson County Social Services at 319-356-6090 or ldeloach@co.johnson.ia.us.

Date of publication

Thursday, June 11, 2015

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