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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Successful Emancipation

Owen Sound | by Manny Paiva  

149th Festival declared a success, wheels already in motion for next year.

It was another weekend of history and family in Owen Sound.

About 500 people attended the 149th Emancipation Festival at Harrison Park on Saturday to celebrate this area's black heritage.

People from as far away as Georgia and California attended this year's event.

Chair Blaine Courtney says he was particularly pleased with the reception for the Kids Zone -- a new area of fun for kids who also learned about black history.

Courtney and other volunteers are already planning for the 150th Festival next year.

Courtney tells Bayshore Broadcasting News they have grand plans to mark the longest running event in Owen Sound history.

It's also the longest running Emancipation Festival in North America.

Next year's Festival will be held at both Harrison Park and Kelso Beach as Courtney anticipates they could have up to two thousand people in attendance.

Courtney confirms they have plans to add more events and the Festival will start earlier and end later.

Courtney notes they have already started planning for an Ancestors Breakfast.

Courtney also says about 50 Adventure Cyclists will follow the underground railroad from New Orleans from Owen Sound -- and they will lead a parade from Harrison Park to Kelso Beach.

He says they plan to work with City Hall to make the 150th Emancipation Festival something special.

Courtney adds they also plan to have some of the traditional features -- such as the marketplace -- and a continued focus on youth and family time.

Courtney says they also plan to start fundraising soon for next year's festival.


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