John Brown Farm State Historic Site will once again commemorate Juneteenth with a family-friendly celebration of freedom. The free event will take place onsite in Lake Placid Saturday, June 16th from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Brendan Mills, Site Manager and Curator at John Brown Farm Historic Site, says,“ The first Juneteenth took place on June 19, 1865 when Union soldiers told slaves in Galveston, Texas that they were free. It was a moment of triumph. The day and celebration eventually became known as Juneteenth. I wanted to have something to celebrate here.”
Mills organized the annual celebration that will include The Lake Champlain Mass Chorus, Sombabeats African Dance Tribe, Reason2Smile African Market Place, BBQ and ice cream. All the activities are free, though the food and ice cream are available for a $2 donation.
Sombabeats is a Lake Placid African Dance Tribe that will be at John Brown Farm Historic Site performing African inspired rhythms. According to dancer and Sombabeats founder Johnna MacDougall the group will also perform a traditional Kakilambe, a ritual to celebrate the prosperity, freedom and being in the Adirondacks. From there they will do a lot of celebratory dances.
MacDougall says, “We will start with a drum circle so bring your pots and pans or your own drums. From there we will have a mask-making project for kids and families. At the end of our performances, we have a community dance.”
Mills wants to remind everyone that it is always free to visit the grounds at John Brown Farm Historic Site. The historic house will be open during the morning of the Juneteenth celebration but with limited tours during the event.
“We have 270-acres here with about 2 miles of trails,” says Mills. “We have walking trails, fields and forests. There is a variety of terrain for people to enjoy. The next events to look forward are an open-air Civil War Museum with hands-on exhibit and our annual quilt show.”