Juneteenth celebration to be held in Starke  

Starke will be hosting its first Miss Juneteenth Pageant Gala on Saturday.
Courtesy of Miss Juneteenth Pageant Gala

The Juneteenth committee and the Shirley Ann Brown Livingstone Scholarship Foundation are hosting its first Juneteenth Pageant Gala 2023 in Starke this Saturday. 

The reception will start at 5 p.m. at the Bradford County Fairgrounds, Building 3 (2300 N. Temple Avenue, Starke). During the reception, there will be food, drinks, and African drumming.  

The theme for the event is Doers and Dreamers. Valerie Petteway, the Juneteenth committee director, was a doer and a dreamer. More than 50 years ago, she helped to demonstrate at the Reitz Union, and she protested for the integration of the University of Florida.  

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“This holiday means different things to different people…young people will never know how it truly feels. Unless you’ve walked it and remind them that they didn’t just walk into this.” 

The pageant and program will begin at 6:15 p.m. Young ladies ages 11-18 will be highlighted during the pageant and will be given the chance to win awards. The winner will be crowned Miss Juneteenth 2023. The program will feature storytellers, poets, and entertainment. 

“We [the Juneteenth committee] decided to start it because we understood the importance of letting young people, as well as older citizens, that Juneteenth was…a milestone not to be taken lightly. This really lets us know we’re not forgotten,” Valerie Petteway stated in a phone conversation. “This is for us to educate the nation. It’s a joyous occasion…We want young people to show appreciation for what has been given to you, because it has not come without a cost.” 

There are a few remaining slots for Miss Juneteenth contestants. For more information about how to apply, visit Eventbrite.  

Everyone is invited to attend this community event. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for children ages 6-12. Attire is semi-formal for this event. Tickets are on sale now on Eventbrite and at area churches.  

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