The Unity Committee is sponsoring a Juneteenth celebration from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday in honor of the day slaves learned of their freedom, as stated in the Emancipation Proclamation.

A.J. Rhodes, creator of the Unity Committee in Jacksonville, said local businesses have generously donated items to the event, and several local dignitaries are planning to take part, as well.

“This is not just for blacks, it’s for everybody,” Rhodes said. “We want to bridge the gap and have everyone out to have a good time.”

Kicking off the celebration will be a parade at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, beginning and ending at the Tomato Bowl. Afterwards the celebration will move to the Norman Plaza Pavilion across from First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Bolton and Larissa streets, Rhodes said.

“We tried to pick a central location and a time of day before it gets too hot,” Rhodes said.

Charles Hollie and a choir from Mount Horeb Church will sing a selection of “old, black hymns,” according to Rhodes. And poems will be recited by various young adults.

“We want to educate our youth about the struggle of slavery and then what it was like to be free,” Rhodes said.

The Rev. Stacy Hinton of Palestine will conduct the event, which is free of charge.

Food will be provided and will include barbecued goat, brisket and chicken, hot dogs, sodas and all the fixings.

Participants are also asked to wear period dress, for example, coveralls, khakis, bonnets, long dresses and aprons. Special recognition will also be given to those 90 years and older.