Brownwood area residents will celebrate Juneteenth, the holiday that marks the day in 1865 when Texans learned of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery, with three days of activities.

Friday, June 19, is officially Juneteenth, but the celebration here will open with a volunteer rally and balloon lift-off Thursday.

Friday’s events will include booths and food, events for children and youth, 3-on-3 softball, the “Spirit of Juneteenth” play, “Juneteenth Idol” finals and dedication of an historical marker at Hardin School at 11:30 a.m.

On Saturday, the Juneteenth parade will be held at 11 a.m. A demonstration by Home Depot workshop children is planned along with a motorcycle show, pony rides and demonstrations by the Low Riders Car Club. Games, events for children and youth, obstacle courses, face painting, relay games and a waterslide. Free hot dogs and watermelon will be served to children between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.

Juneteenth Idol cash prizes will be $300 in the 18 and older category, $150 in the 13-17 age bracket and $50 for the 3-12 age group.

Performers in the park from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. will include Avalon Classic, Doc Holloway Group Praise and Worship, High Mesa Cowboy Church Praise Band, Li’l Jimmie and The Feed Back Band.

All events will be headquartered around the Bennie Houston Community Center and Cecil Holman Park.

For information about the Juneteenth Idol event, call Ilita Adams at 642-2815, Michael Kelly at 642-9178 or Gladys Bryant at 200-3459.

For information about the Juneteenth parade, call Kelly at 642-9178, Harriett Wilson at 217-2790 or LaSonya Hall at 998-0136.