The 157th Owen Sound Emancipation Festival takes place this weekend.
It's the longest running festival of its kind in North America.
Event co-organizer Barry Penhale has been involved in the festival for years, and says, "It's quite amazing when you think about it, that here we have in Owen Sound an emancipation celebration that outdoes any others throughout North America."
Owen Sound is the northern terminus of the Underground Railroad, a secret route of safe houses black people in the United States took to escape slavery in the 1800s.
Many of them settled in the Owen Sound area and some of their descendents are still here in the community.
The festival begins Friday evening (August 2nd) and features a Speaker's Forum at Grey Roots Museum from 6:30 to 9:30.
It will include the 5th Annual Les MacKinnon Memorial Address.
The evening's Keynote Speaker is Kingston, Ont. based author of 'Emancipation Day' and 'Up For Freedom' Wayne Grady.
Special Guest, Nova Scotia Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard will talk about her effort to gain official recognition of Emancipation Day in Canada with Bill S-255.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online or at the door.
On Saturday August 3rd, the Ancestors' Breakfast & Cairn Ceremony will be held from 9:30 a.m. until noon Harrison Park.
The breakfast kicks off Emancipation Picnic day and includes pancakes and sausages and is a favourite part of the festival for many.
There will be a Cairn re-dedication led by Town Crier, Bruce Kruger and attended by a number of special guests.
Breakfast is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and children 12 & under.
The Festival Picnic and Jam will run from 12:30 PM 6:30 PM at Harrison Park.
It includes family activities such as kids races & games, prizes, raffles, vendors, and even Storytime with the Senator.
Live music includes Juno award winning artist Harrison Kennedy as well as well-known local musicians The Trevor Mackenzie Band with special guest Bobby Dean Blackburn and DJ Lenny Sheffield.
Pehnale says Gospel at Moreston Village is a highlight of the festival. From 11 to 12:30 on Sunday, August 4th at the barn in Moreston Village there will be live gospel singing and music.
There will also be a cash barbecue Lunch prepared by Chef Jeffrey Anthony of Kirkharle Farms.
Following that, from 1:30 to 3:30 Grey Roots will open a new art exhibition by Tony Kenneth Miller of Bliss Studio in Owen Sound called "1862 - 2019 Time Passages"