The 2012 Winchester Labor Day Celebration is returning to Harmon Field Park on Meadow Street, the site of many of its greatest moments.
Since Thomas Shackleford started the Labor Day Celebration in 1904, it has been a time of celebration and a source of pride for the African-American community in Clark County.
Beginning Saturday, the community will once again gather for a weekend that includes the crowning of the Labor Day Queen, dances, concerts, food and fellowship, culminating with the annual parade on Labor Day.
This year, the Labor Day Committee decided to move the parade ending back to Harmon Field Park to reconnect the celebration to its storied past.
“The committee decided this year to take a stroll down memory lane and take the parade back to Harmon Field with an old-fashioned picnic, music, food and just good, old-fashioned fun,” said committee member Flora Shelby. “Everybody is invited to come share the fun with us. Bring your family, friends and a lawn chair and have a good time.”
Festivities get under way 10 a.m. Saturday with vendor registration and voter registration at Harmon Field.
New this year will be 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 basketball tournaments, which begin at 2 p.m. Registration for the tournaments begins at noon.
Activities for both children and adults begin in the park at 2 p.m. From 4 to 6 p.m., there will be a rolling video game truck providing free video games for the children.
At 4 p.m., the communitiy’s youngest take the stage with the baby contest for children from 6 months to 2 years old. That will be followed at 5 p.m. by the “Think You’ve Got Talent” talent show, which is open to everyone.
The evening concludes with a DJ playing music until 1:30 a.m.
On Sunday, the festivities begin at 2 p.m. with voter registration and games and activities, followed by an old-fashioned picnic from 3 to 4:30 p.m. That will be followed at 4:30 p.m. by the Gospel Fest, featuring popular gospel groups from the community and surrounding area.
At 6:30 p.m., the 2012 Labor Day Queen will be chosen from the six candidates: Alexus Thomas, Bre’Ana Bates, TyQuasha Gay, Kaylee Raymer, Keona Mack and Ariel Wortham.
Music will be provided by a DJ from 10 p.m. until 1:30 a.m.
On Monday, the main event of the celebration, the parade, begins at noon.
Thomas Shackleford began the celebration with the parade. His son Frank Shackleford continued the parade until the Shackleford Lodge No. 66 took over operation of the festival and parade, according to Shelby.
The Rev. Henry Baker, former pastor of Broadway Baptist Church, a former Winchester City Commissioner and vice mayor, will serve as Grand Marshal for this year’s parade.
Other dignitaries in the parade will be the newly crowned Labor Day Queen, along with last year’s Little Labor Day King and Queen, Quandre Okolo and India Isabel, and Teen King and Queen, De’Mikale Knowles and Anyila Chenault. The parade court were selected prior to last year’s parade, but because it was canceled by bad weather, they will preside over this year’s event.
The parade route this year has changed from the what was used for many years. The parade route has changed several times over the years, but has ended on West Washington Street since the early 1960s.
The parade will still begin at Broadway Baptist Church, then go down Maple Expressway to Lexington Avenue, to Main Street. But this year, it will proceed down South Main Street all the way to Depot Street.
In previous years, the parade turned onto Washington Street.
Following the parade, activities will continue at Harmon Field until 4:30 p.m.
Parking for the celebration will be available in the lower half of Harmon Field, the Generations Center parking lot and other nearby lots. All parking areas will be marked.
Meadow Street will be blocked all day Saturday and Sunday, and half a day on Monday.
Contact Bob Flynn at email@example.com.