Food truck rally part of Juneteenth festivities kickoff

The first weekend of Gainesville’s monthlong “Journey to Juneteenth” festivities take off this Saturday with a children’s scavenger hunt and two movies in Depot Park, then the fun moves to Downtown GNV Commons for a food truck rally on Sunday.

The city’s celebration spans the period between May 20, which is Florida’s Emancipation Day, and Juneteenth on June 19.

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when Maj. Gen. George Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce and enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. Floridians celebrate Emancipation Day a month early because on May 20, 1865, Brig. Gen. Edward McCook made a similar announcement in Tallahassee.

Gainesville’s “Journey to Juneteenth,” which kicked off Thursday, encompasses both commemorations of the end of enslavement.

Saturday’s events begin online with the Zoom-based Celebration of Emancipation Day at 10 a.m. The event includes music, speeches and presentations about the history and importance of Emancipation Day.

Depot Park (874 S.E. Fourth Street,) will be the site of three events Saturday.

  • At 2 p.m., children can participate in a scavenger hunt for hidden items using clues featuring African American history. Three food trucks—B’z Gelati, Rastafar Ice and Joyful Java—will be selling refreshments at the event, which runs to 3:30 p.m.
  • At 4 p.m., the city will show Marvel’s “Black Panther” on the lawn at the park. “Black Panther” is a science-fiction movie, starring the late Chadwick Boseman, about the fictional African nation of Wakanda and its superhero king.
  • At 8 p.m., the emphasis moves from fictional heroes to a real-life heroine, when the city shows “Harriet,” starring British actress Cynthia Erivo in the title role. The film centers on the life of Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist who escaped slavery and who would go on to rescue about 70 other enslaved people using a network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. Both films are rated PG-13.

The Season of Freedom Food Truck Rally rolls the celebration into Sunday afternoon. The food truck, music and arts and craft event stretches from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Downtown GNV Commons, 100 S.W. First Ave.

The trucks will be serving up a variety of cuisines including pizza, chicken sandwiches, vegan comfort food, curry, gelato, fried seafood, wings and Latin food inspired by Venezuela, Peru and Puerto Rico. Adults will be able to purchase beer and other adult beverages at a mobile bar.

Featured trucks will include: Curry Coma, DB Rolling Dough, DeCorah, Germains, La Maracucha, Lulu’s Gelato, Popadops, Tarilyn Creations and Vegan Gator.

Local favorites Showtime will perform at the rally from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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