Juneteenth Parade, Texas Blues Festival Happening Saturday In Bryan

6 P.M. Update

Music and history are coming alive Saturday night in Bryan with the inaugural Bryan Texas Blues Festival.

There was a lot to see and hear in Bryan with the concerts as well as an early celebration for Juneteenth.

Five different acts with roots in Bryan are playing some blues and jazz music and it's all free.

The City of Bryan donated $30,000 from Hotel Occupancy Tax funds to sponsor these award-winning artists.

It's been a full day though with hundreds of other people participating in this year's annual Juneteenth Parade which News 3 caught on camera in the morning.

It's a national celebration with Texas ties.

Bryan's annual Juneteenth Parade drew thousands of people to the streets with the long parade from the Carver Early Childhood Center ending at the green space of Sadie Thomas Park.

It's 7-year-old Darrius Markies Smith's second time to see it.

"Looking at the parade and having a good time," said Smith of Bryan.

From hot rods to even a suped up shopping cart, there was something for everyone.

"Well I really enjoy when the little kids was on the motorcycles," added Smith.

While it was a fun time it was also a time to give thanks and celebrate June 19, 1865.

Juneteenth started in Galveston when African American slaves in Texas first learned they were now free.

For Courtney Walker of Bryan the parade is an event being passed down over many generations.

"Yes I come to this event every year. I have been in Bryan all my life, 35 years and I bring my kids out so they can learn about the history and some of the tradition that we actually participate in on this time of the year," said Courtney Walker.

Her cousin William Walker is one of the headlining acts for the evening's Blues Festival.

William Walker came back from his home in Los Angeles to play a little bass and harmonica.

"I'd be glad to go back home and do something for them you know. Yeah I left in 1948 I finished school in 1948. It's good to be back, I come here every year or so but nothing like being in something like this, being a part of Bryan's first, [blues festival], said William Walker.

"We look forward to this part of the year every year so that we can come out celebrate, enjoy and also just recollect on some of the things that we have been through in the past," explained Courtney Walker.

Bryan City Councilman Paul Madison presented keys to the city to the featured artists.

A lot of soulful music followed.

This year's lineup at the Palace Theater includes Sunny Nash at 7 P.M.
William Walker 7:50 P.M.
Damu Sudi Alii 8:30 P.M.
Donald Ray Johnson 9:15 P.M.
Nat Dove 10:15 P.M.

The celebration continues until about 11 P.M. Saturday.

The concerts are being coordinated by the Brazos Valley African American Heritage and Cultural Society.

*Previous Story*

A celebration of music and history are happening Saturday in Bryan.

Thousands of people were on hand Saturday morning for the annual Juneteenth Parade on Martin Luther King Jr. Street in Bryan.

Parade goers marched from the Carver Early Childhood Center all the way to Sadie Thomas Park.

Juneteenth started in Galveston on June 19, 1865 when African American slaves there learned they'd been emancipated.

Also happening Saturday is the first-ever Bryan Texas Blues Festival and Celebration,.

The dedication for the program is happening at 6 P.M. in Downtown Bryan with performances to follow.

Admission is free.

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