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Goodwater celebrates Juneteenth
By Crystal Glenn
This year’s Jr. Miss Juneteenth pageant participants included, pictured from left, 15-year-old Lavender Kelly, 16-year-old Kieasia Tuck and 16-year-old Brieasia Tuck.
Anne Pearson, second from the left, was the only participant in the Miss Juneteenth category. Photo submitted
Kieasia Tuck looks lovely as she walks down the red carpet during the Jr. Miss Juneteenth pageant. Photo submitted
Sixteen-year-old Kieasia Tuck is given her crown and sash as she becomes Goodwater’s first Jr Miss Juneteenth 2021. Photo submitted
Latisha Simmons and Quiwana Epps of the SOS Queendom taking a pose under the Juneteenth arch. Photo submitted
Anne Pearson strutting her stuff down the red carpet. She becomes Goodwater’s first Miss Juneteenth 2021. Photo submitted
On Saturday, June 19, people in the community of Goodwater came together to celebrate Juneteenth.
This year’s event was the second annual celebration of Juneteenth in the City of Goodwater. Latisha Simmons and Quiwana Epps worked together to organize and provide a fun event for their community.
“It was important to me to bring something new and fun to our community,” said Simmons. “My goal is that this will be a yearly celebration that will get bigger and better every time.”
Despite a rain-filled day, there was a large turnout of people and vendors who came to celebrate Juneteenth. The day was filled with events for kids and adults alike.
There were plans for a grill master competition that had to be changed because of the rain, but everyone who came enjoyed the other activities.
This year a Juneteenth pageant was added to the list of activities. Participates in the Jr. Miss Juneteenth pageant included 15-year-old Lavender Kelly, 16-year-old Kieasia Tuck and 16-year-old Brieasia Tuck. Kieasia Tuck became Goodwater’s first Jr. Miss Juneteenth.
In addition to the Jr. Miss Juneteenth, Anne Pearson became Goodwater’s first Miss Juneteenth of Goodwater.
“My family and I have been celebrating Juneteenth at home for the past few years. We’ve always wanted to make it a bigger city-wide event because many people had never heard of Juneteenth,” said Simmons. “We’re a small town, and we’re not really known for anything. I thought this would be a good way to put Goodwater on the map and have something special that people will look forward to coming to Goodwater for each year.”
Simmons added, “I would like to recognize and thank the following businesses and vendors for their support of this year’s event.”
- Q’s Boutique provided a monetary donation, as well as a purse and a nail salon gift certificate for the pageant winners.
- Zion Memorial Funeral Home of Sylacauga also provided a monetary donation to sponsor flowers and gifts for pageant participants.
- Orlando’s Soul Kitchen and Beyond of Sylacauga donated a free meal certificate to the Miss Juneteenth winner.
- Donna and Ed Calhoun of Ed’s Deli in Goodwater donated two free meal certificates to the Jr. Miss Juneteenth winner.
- Robin Whetstone of Alexander City sponsored the Grillmaster competition trophy.
- Maggie Leonard of Alexander City created the beautiful Juneteenth balloon arch.
Simmons wanted to also recognize the following vendors and thank them for coming out on a rainy day to celebrate: Q’s Boutique; Betty Epps, an Avon representative; Tiffany McCoy of Pink’d Paparazzi Accessories; Shearon Epps of Heart Changing Publications; S&S Designs by Sylvia Stone; Mz Mae’s Country Cooking; and Amy Crawford.
President Joe Biden recently signed a bill declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday. On June 17, Gov. Kay Ivey released a statement declaring June 18 to be a holiday for all state employees.
Juneteenth is now officially a celebration of the date in history commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
Simmons is excited to continue the celebration of Juneteenth annually in the City of Goodwater. She plans to begin early next year and hopes that the community will pull together to plan a memorable event for all.