Emancipation Proclamation, Sept 22, 1862
Thousands of people are expected to crowd into Lincoln Park this Saturday for the 141st annual Emancipation Proclamation Day Celebration.
The annual day-long event - the longest running annual Emancipation celebration in the United States - is expected to be well attended, said Kenneth Carter, this year's Emancipation Committee Chairman.
"This is the biggest celebration held in Upson County and we've been planning it for months," Carter said. "We're going to have a huge parade, all kinds of activities and many different types of food."
Carter said this year's event is likely to draw people from all over the state and perhaps, the nation.
"A lot of people who previously lived here come to Upson County just for this event," he said, adding the theme for this year's celebration is one of hope: "Reaching Our Goals and fulfilling our potential with religion, families, education and jobs."
More than 50 vendors are expected to sell everything from hot dogs to T-Shirts to toys and games for the kids. Being an election year, politicians are expected to be on hand garnering support.
Bands set to appear in the parade are the Frederick Douglas High School Band of Atlanta, the Northeast Macon High School Band and the M.A. Evans Band. The keynote speaker for this year's event is the Rev. Timothy Flemmings of Atlanta.
"The thing you really shouldn't miss is the parade," Carter said. "It's huge. We expect the parade alone to stretch all the way from North Bethel Street to the Courthouse." Carter said those who wish to drive a vehicle can still sign up and pay a $10 fee.
Carter said that in the past, parking has been a problem because of the huge crowd.
"We would like to encourage people to park at Flint River Technical College and take the busses to the celebration at Lincoln Park, Carter said
Slaves in the South, Carter said, were officially freed Jan. 1 1863, but the people in Upson County didn't get the word until May 29, 1863, hence that is why the festival is held each May.
"We've been celebrating Emancipation Day from that day until this day. It's the longest running celebration anywhere in the country and something we are very proud of."