Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry Crowns Mrs. Linda McGee With "Queen Of Juneteenth"
Updated: Jun 29, 2022
Photos By: Duane C. Fernandez Sr. / Hardnotts Photography L.L.C.
Story By: Andreas Buttler.
The local community came out to events celebrating Juneteenth, including the Juneteenth Festival at Cypress Park which drew large crowds on June 18.
Festivities included a petting zoo, rock climbing, a train ride and face painting along with 100 vendors selling food and other merchandise as well as providing free information on goods and services.
Festival participants were also treated to live entertainment including music, dancing and African dance. The Campbell Middle schools marching band also put on a performance. In conjunction with the festival, the Sankofa African-American Museum on Wheels had an exhibit at the Midtown Cultural & Educational Center adjacent to the park. The exhibit included slave chains and shackles and other artifacts. There was also a ‘Pool Splash’ at the Cypress Aquatic Center where the first 70 kids were admitted free of charge, sponsored by the Juneteenth Committee. The recreation center and swimming pool are adjacent to the park. “Juneteenth this year was excellent. We got outstanding support from diverse elements of the community. All races, religions and cultures and enjoyed it,” said Linda McGee, Juneteenth Committee Chair. McGee was honored as the Queen of Juneteenth and has been overseeing the events from the beginning. Tina Malone was at the festival with her two teenage daughters; the kids later went swimming. She said, "This is awesome and fun. We like it. Everyone is out here having a good time.” The Juneteenth Banquet held on June 16 at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was sold out. “We had 400 people. We had a waiting list. I was told that it was the hottest banquet ticket in town. People were still trying to buy tickets that day including trying to buy the tickets of those who didn’t show up,” responded McGee. Juneteenth is a holiday recognizing the end of slavery in the United States. It has grown from a celebration of picnics, barbecues and festivals in Texas to a nationally celebrated holiday. It is also now a federal holiday. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas found out they were free following The Civil War. Locally Juneteenth has been celebrated in Daytona for 24 years. “We’ve fought to keep it alive. It’s always been supported locally. Daytona should be proud. We have the oldest Juneteenth Celebration in Florida. We were doing it when people didn’t know what it was. We’ve been at the Dickerson Center, Bethune-Cookman, Embry-Riddle, and the Midtown Center” said McGee. The Juneteenth Banquet honored 20 Hometown Heroes for their contributions to the community including: Attorney David Glasser; humanitarian; Annette Amorian; educator, social worker and community servant; Francene Burns; Chef Count Forman; Local club owner, DJ and promoter, Ronald Kendrick; Community Activist Anne Ruby; former Bethune-Cookman and Mainland football standout, Tony Wilson; and the late Community and Civil Rights Activist, Norma Bland. Five local high school graduates were honored with scholarships they were: Mya McGee (Atlantic High School), Aiden Mojica (Seabreeze High School), Alvin Scott (Mainland High School), Jeffrey Turner (Mainland High School) and Jaylen Williams (DeLand High School). Nine year old, third grader at South Daytona Elementary, Hezekiah Reaves was named Mr. Juneteenth 2022. Six year old, first grader at Horizon Elementary, Kaydence Duhart Little was named Miss. Juneteenth 2022. McGee added, “The Juneteenth Committee should be commended for their work in putting this all together.” For more Photos go to www.hardnottsphotography.com