RIO GRANDE — The Emancipation Celebration festival is slated to begin Friday at Ariel Theater and continue at the Bob Evans Farm Saturday and Sunday.
“Saturday is going to be more of a kids’ day with fun activities,” Emancipation Celebration Day Committee Treasurer Karen Sprague said. “Sunday will hold actual church services and ministers.”
According to the Emancipation Celebration program, the opening ceremony Saturday will begin at 10 a.m. with a raising of the flag ceremony led by Bill Jackson and the Civil War Troops. Andrew Gilmore, Emancipation Celebration Day president, will announce a welcoming to all-comers. The invocation will follow shortly after. Jeannie Williams is anticipated to lead the Negro Anthem. Junior Girl Scout Troop 1965 will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Gallia Academy High School Marching Band will play a selection of music after the pledge. Bonnie McFarland will make a Holzer Health Fair announcement. Jenny Dovyak will announce a series of birthday chronicles.
Steve Ball is expected to play American Civil War era-themed music from 10:30-11 a.m. Jessie Payne will tell the history of emancipation in Gallia County.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is expected to showcase animal exhibits at 1 p.m. and stage another afternoon program at 2 p.m.
Glenn Miller, Emancipation Celebration Day Committee vice-president, will welcome and recognize local, state and national dignitaries.
Rory Rennick is anticipated to hold a magic show shortly after. The St. Albans Men’s Chorus of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in St. Albans, W.Va., will be making an appearance to sing.
Arthur Clark will make a scholarship presentation. Dana and Jessica Dotson, of Gallipolis, will perform an interpretive dance.
Miller will close Saturday’s events with some final thoughts.
Sunday is anticipated to hold a 10 a.m. worship service. Miller will welcome those seeking to engage in fellowship. Zion Baptist Church Choir of Madison, W.Va., will sing the service’s hymns. Miller will then lead the devotional. An offering will be asked of celebration comers. Minister Marlin Griffin will introduce the morning worship’s sermon, led by the Rev. Michael Pollard of Zion Baptist Church.
At 2 p.m., Emancipation Celebration Day President Andrew Gilmore will welcome the event’s attendants. He will also recognize national, state and local dignitaries along with the Emancipation board.
Arthur Clark is expected to announce the event’s keynote speaker, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, an Olympic gold medalist, motivational speaker and author, before she makes her presentation.
Just Family, of Columbus, will lead the crowd in a selection of musical pieces.
Special remarks will be made by Nicholas Tipple, AEP Gavin Plant representative, and a tribute will be made to Bob Evans Farms.
Gilmore will close the day with thoughts about the celebration and its purpose.
According to information gathered from Sprague, inflatable bounce houses will be available for crowd members to enjoy. Free carriage and ponies can be ridden as well. The event is open and free to the public, minus the cost of food.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.