PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- The first African-American and first woman to lead the Westchester Board of Legislators and an award-winning actor will be the grand marshals of Peekskill’s Second Annual Juneteenth Parade on Saturday.
Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas found out that they had been freed and is the oldest continuously celebrated African-American holiday commemorating emancipation from slavery.
This year's event begins at 1:30 p.m. with a proclamation ceremony at the AME Zion Church on Park Street and a VIP reception. The parade through the downtown will begin at 2 p.m. starting at the church. There will also be a free fish and chicken fry on Main Street next to Lepore Park in the afternoon.
The celebration will continue at Riverfront Green Park with an extensive lineup of Gospel, Jazz and Hip Hop music from 4-8 p.m.
Grand Marshal Lois Bronz is a retired Westchester County Board of Legislators chairwoman, who represented District 8 and the towns of Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, and Greenburgh. She was named chair of the board by her peers for the 2002-2004 term.
"We like to highlight members of the African-American community, particularly from Westchester County," said Valerie Swan, Peekskill Youth Bureau director and chair of the Juneteenth Committee.
The other grand marshal is Michael K. Williams, best known for his roles in two HBO series, "Boardwalk Empire" and "The Wire," with his role in the latter earning him a nomination for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Baltimore criminal Omar Little.
"Young people are always interested in the performing arts," Swan said. "The committee reached out to him and he agreed to come."
This year organizers hope to draw more bands and groups from the area to take part, even as they compete with the Clearwater Festival and Father's Day weekend events, Swan said.
Some city establishments are also helping to celebrate the weekend by offering specials, such Kathleen's Tea Room and The Birdsall House.
The master of ceremonies for this year's event will once again be Bill Carter, commissioner of the Theodore Young Community Center in Greenburgh.
"He grew up in Peekskill, so we're happy to have him again this year," Swan said.