There was barely a chance to groove to the drumbeat Saturday when a rainstorm forced those at the Juneteenth Parade to run for cover.
A short time later, soaked grounds forced organizers to cancel a luncheon for hundreds of people at Malcolm X Park. The wet weather put a damper on the festivities that capped the end of the annual weeklong commemoration of June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas, received word that slavery had ended in the United States.
Elsewhere in the metro, the Papillion Days and Bennington Daze parades — both with afternoon start times — went on as planned Saturday. Other entertainment at both of those events was open to the public and went on in spite of the weather, which later cleared up.
Juneteenth events this past week included concerts, art exhibits, educational forums and other family events. Organizers plan to discuss whether Saturday's festivities can be rescheduled.
“Juneteenth is a special day,” said parade spectator Jeffery Stewart, who was wearing a T-shirt with the image of civil rights activist Malcolm X on the front.
The Omaha transplant from Jamaica described it as a time for people to come together, remember history and celebrate.
“I look forward to it every year,” Stewart said.
Three generations of Williams women were near the parade's start at 30th and Lake Streets. They took the opportunity to educate the youngest family member there, 8-year-old India Williams, on the importance of Juneteenth.
“It's a celebration of freedom,” said India's grandmother, Delphine Williams.
Only a portion of the parade entries marched along the route before the rain started.
A bevy of politicians came through. The Omaha branch of the NAACP sponsored the parade and handed out information about Juneteenth events. Two dance groups and drummers had children and adults smiling and dancing.
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