The first thing Marietta Superintendent Emily Lembeck did when she arrived downtown Saturday afternoon was to renew her membership at the NAACP tent.
Cobb County NAACP President Deane Bonner said Lembeck’s more than 10-year membership with the organization “speaks volumes of the leadership” of some of the city’s elected officials.
Lembeck said the all-day event draws families and prominent community members from across the city and state together.
“I see people here from every aspect of the community,” Lembeck said.
Councilman Grif Chalfant attended for the first time after Bonner’s insistence.
“She made me come,” said Chalfant, while standing in front of the NAACP tent buying a 10th anniversary T-shirt.
Event offers everything
This year’s event provided identical white tents for each of the vendor spots, which gave the festival a more unified look and helped to showcase the items inside.
Jeriene Grimes, the vice president of the Cobb County Chapter of the NAACP who organized much of the event, said the new tents caused one of the few little glitches of the event.
But, she said, the vendors were very cooperative and patient.
John Morant, who lives in Atlanta, brought African art, scented body oils and colorful dresses to sell for the third year.
Morant said he comes to Juneteenth because of the atmosphere.
“It is a nice little family thing,” Morant said.
Another small vendor was selling baked goods like hot cakes.
Sweet Desires opened three years ago out of a home in Marietta, but the company set up shop at Juneteenth for the first time this year.
Sylvia Walker, who works for the bakery, said customers were begging for it to participate.
Sweet Desires did not disappoint, offering banana nut bread, key lime cake and many types of cookies.
Walker said it took three days to bake enough products and expected to sell out.
“Everybody likes sweets,” Walker said.
The real party was in the center of the Square at Glover Park, where the stage offered a constant parade of music from various amateur acts.
Grimes said the day included 20 performances that were about five minutes each.
Some acts were simple with one singer using taped accompaniment, others involve more rehearsed performances, like the Akili African Dancers, a local hip hop children’s group.
The highlight of the event was a flash mob, which Grimes decided to try for the first time at Saturday’s event.
Two-hundred people did a choreographed dance in the Square to kick-off the festivities, Grimes said.
Grimes said she was proud of everyone and it was the “icing on the 10th anniversary cake.”