Emancipation Day Festival

Emancipation Day Festival

August; varies
On August 1, 1834, the government of Upper Canada formally enacted the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in Canada. Word of this proclamation spread south to the United States, and thousands of American slaves sought to follow the North Star to find freedom in Canada.
Amherstburg, Ontario, was one of the first communities to hold celebrations in honor of this historic decree. Soon the celebrations spread to other cities, including Windsor. The Emancipation Day celebrations drew tens of thousands of Canadians and Americans. Over the years, Emancipation Day celebrations have included an Emancipation Day parade featuring floats, marching bands, precision drill teams, and dignitaries. The various festivities at Emancipation Day celebrations also included booths selling food and handicrafts.
During the 1930s women of color were often barred from entering mainstream beauty pageants. In 1931 Walter Perry organized the first annual Miss Sepia Pageant in Windsor, which helped bring beautiful and talented young black women into the spotlight. Contestants competed in the evening gown, swimwear, and talent categories. During the Emancipation Day parade, floats featuring the Miss Sepia contestants were always very popular.
CONTACTS:
Emancipation Picnic Committee, Emancipation Celebration Festival
1303 Knights Bridge Ct.
Burlington, ON L7P 3K8 Canada
www.emancipation.ca