“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

— The first sentence of General Order No. 3, read by Major General Gordon Granger in Galveston on June 16, 1865.

By Gene Deason — Brownwood Bulletin

Juneteenth, the oldest known commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, has earned five days of celebration in Brownwood, and this Saturday finds the festivities just beginning to roll.

Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.

True, it came two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Procla-mation, which had become official Jan. 1, 1863. But the Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops available to enforce the order. However, with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee in April 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to overcome the resistance.

Recounting the memories that flooded the newly-freed population evolved into celebrations each year, and the date “June 19” was rolled into the term “Juneteenth.” A popular Texas tradition for generations, it has become a day observed in many areas nationally, as well as throughout the world.

In Brownwood, the events started Friday with a soul food lunch and evening Gospel fest, and continue today with an afternoon of fun for the family at Cecil Holman Park beginning at lunch and ending with a dance at the Grand Starz Club, 2325 Belle Plain, at 8 p.m.

Events will continue Sunday through Tuesday, the actual day of the observance when a parade and dinner are planned.

Meanwhile, it’s the last weekend of spring — summer begins next Thursday, no matter what the weather may already feel like. But since the weather is warm, and schools are out, many area residents will take the time to enjoy swimming, fishing, boating, skiing or playing outdoors. Then there’s the mowing, edging, raking, gardening and fertilizing that never seems to end.

But watering might not be on the agenda, not with the soggy conditions the area has been experiencing.

Still, a few matters of interest remain available today, and here is a sample:

Bangs keeps busy

Bangs residents who bring a copy of their water bill may bring trash to the roll-off conatiner at the water plant on North Third Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, the City of Bangs is also hosting a local farmer’s market, free to vendors, in the open area of downtown on Kyle Street, on Thursday and Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

Make a day of it

The Lake Brownwood Lions Club, 6751 Highway 279, will host bingo at 1:30 p.m. Later, the Lake Brown-wood Lions will host a country musical from 6 to 10 p.m. with area musicians and singers. The snack bar will be open serving homemade ice cream and hamburgers. No alcohol allowed on the premises or in the building.

Church rummage sale

Central United Methodist Church, 1501 Second St., will hold its annual rummage sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be furniture, home and garden decor, tools, toys, clothing, collectibles and many other items.

Square dancers unite

The Pecan Valley Square Dancers will dance at Central United Methodist Church from 8 to 10 a.m. Ira Cullins will call with line dancers between tips. For more information, contact Jean Fisher at 646-8424.