Juneteenth celebration at the Gammon House returns for 2021

The Gammon House, located at 620 Piqua Place in Springfield, will welcome the return of the annual Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 19, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This year’s free event will kick-off with a 5K Walk/Run for Freedom followed by the Annual FatherFest, resource fair, food trucks, music, and special historical exhibits.

Built in the 1850s, the Gammon House was an Underground Railroad site. Originally owned by a black abolitionist named George Gammon, the famous stop features secret passages leading into the attic and a tunnel into the basement.

“We at the Gammon House began celebrating Juneteenth in 2004,” says Dale Henry, president of the Gammon House. “The significance of the house to Springfield and Clark County stems from the fact that it is one of only three Underground Railroad stations still in existence in Ohio that were owned and operated by a family of color.”

Henry says Juneteenth has been celebrated nationally since 1867, when slaves in Galveston, Texas, were finally told that slavery was ended.

“The event was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, and at the beginning of 2021, events this year were still not given a certain green light,” says Henry. “We felt that the 5K was a safe way to celebrate since it is an outdoor event and an opportunity to keep our supporters updated on our mission and progress.”

Henry says volunteers are needed to make the event a success. Volunteers will receive a free T-shirt and duties include: assisting in the registration area, distribution of water, holding directional signs at strategic locations or monitoring visitors in the house.

The 5k run/walk will begin at the Gammon House and travel through southwest historic Springfield along the Little Miami Scenic Trail bikeway.

The Annual FatherFest "Good Dad Awards" will begin at 1 p.m.

Quilt Exhibits will feature renowned textile artists Aminah Robinson and Dorinda Garrett, Springfield City Schools, and Children Quilt Designs.

Food and music will be available, and children can be properly fitter with a free bicycle helmet. A Community Health Foundation resource tent will also be on site.

Registration for the 5K Walk/Run for Freedom is now open at: www.runsignup.com/Race/OH/Springfield/GammonHouse5kRunWalkforFreedom

Registration ends June 16, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Anyone registered by June 10 will receive a t-shirt.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the Gammon House or for the Juneteenth celebration should contact Dale Henry at 937-244-2754.

Read more articles by Darci Jordan.

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