The 31st annual 8th of August Celebration in Russellville will be taking place this week. The yearly event marks the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was a presidential proclamation and executive order issued by President Abraham Lincoln that changed the federal legal status of more than 3 million enslaved people in the designated areas of the South from slave to free.
The theme for this year’s event will be “Freedom: Put on the Whole Armor of God!” The message will be spoken in the opening ceremony on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Church of the Living God in Christ on East Sixth Street where Rev. Timmy Bell is the pastor.
All other events will continue through Sunday, Aug. 6 in Hampton Park.
Pastor Perryn Dillard and Cedar Grove Baptist Church of Olmstead will host the Opening Service. There will also be other local pastors and community leaders on the program for the opening. Again this year any church is welcome to join in the event by giving out literature, food, school supplies or other contributions while welcoming friends and guests.
Friday morning the public is invited to come out and enjoy the “Taste of Culture” at Kathy’s Hair Salon on East 9th Street. The kids events at Hampton Park, which includes bouncers, will also start at 9 a.m. on Friday.
On Friday evening, the Russellville Blues will host a free concert at the African-American Museum area featuring the Jimmy Church Band. The concert will start at 7 p.m. and there will be various vendors and concessions available.
Saturday morning will begin with a 5K run/walk through the city and the annual golf scramble starting at 7 a.m. at Rolling Hills Golf Course. There will be a brief Flag Ceremony at 10 a.m. at Hampton Park conducted by the American Legion Post 269 and the Emancipation Parade will follow at 10:30 a.m. starting from Bank Street AME Zion Church on East 5th Street. Other events on Saturday include men’s softball, the men’s dustbowl basketball tournament, corn hole tournament, children’s inflatables, free school supplies, music, concessions and vendors all throughout Hampton Park.
Contact persons for the activities include Opening Ceremony – Perry Dillard (270-339-3987), Golf Scramble – Larry Hampton (270-726-3921), Parade-Linda Yancey (270-726-4920), Softball-Tony Nichols (270-772-4973), Basketball-Andrae Woodard (270-393-8368), Corn Hole-Monty Bell (270-535-5008) and Park Vendors-Paulette Smith (270-726-9591) or Kathy Edmonds (270-726-9591).
To contact OJ Stapleton, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 270-726-8394.