The Cobb County branch of the NAACP will celebrate Juneteenth with a two-day extravaganza at Glover Park on the Marietta Square, Marietta, Ga. On Friday, June 17, 2011, from 7-11 p.m., select entertainers will perform at “An Evening Under the Stars.” On Saturday, June 18, 2011, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., some 100 vendors will exhibit a variety of wares, information and playful activities, and more than 20 acts will take the stage for an all-day festival.

“Juneteenth” is a portmanteau of the words “June” and “nineteenth,” the date in 1865 when it is said that the last slaves in Texas learned that President Abraham Lincoln had abolished slavery and had freed the slaves more than two years before. Soon after, celebrations of this special date became an annual tradition, and, today, 39 states and the District of Columbia observe Juneteenth as a holiday.

“We have been celebrating here in Marietta, Georgia, for eight years. We have this to honor emancipation, the ending of slavery,” said Jeriene Bonner, vice president of the organization and daughter of longtime president Deane Bonner. “We started out with just 15 vendors and, now, we’re up to 100 and many more entertainers. It’s a really good time for people of all ages.”

Free popcorn will be provided, in addition to play areas and moonwalks for the children. There is no admission for this event.

Bonner added, “We want everyone to come out, have a good time and celebrate freedom and justice for all.”  –arnell pharr