Annual, new celebrations upcoming for Juneteenth

The Gammon House has long been a historical treasure in Springfield, with the home serving as a stop for people seeking freedom along the Underground Railroad. 

The Gammon House holds a significant place in the history of Springfield and Clark County as one of only three Underground Railroad stations still in existence in Ohio that were owned and operated by a black family.

Annually, The Gammon House - at 620 Piqua Place - is the location of Springfield's Juneteenth and Fathersfest celebrations, along with the George & Sarah Gammon Annual 5K Run/Walk for Freedom.

Those events will once again be returning, but spread out over two weekends. 

The 5K run/walk kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at The Gammon House. The race will be followed by the Gammon Farmer's Market, starting at 11 a.m. To register for the walk/run, click here.

This is the second year for the 5K, which had about 150 participants in 2021, says Dale Henry, Gammon House president. 

The following weekend kicks off with a new event - the Together We Rise Prayer Breakfast hosted by St. John Missionary Baptist Church, 34 W. Pleasant St. The free event starts at 9 a.m. Friday, June 17, and attendees can register in advance here

"This is the second year for Juneteenth to be a national holiday and so we feel a prayer breakfast is certainly in order," Henry says.

Celebrations continue at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 18, with a Juneteenth parade starting at St. John Church, traveling down Center Boulevard and ending at The Gammon House. 

The parade will be followed by Fatherfest from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., which will include the "Good Dads Awards" ceremony at 2 p.m., a sweet potato pie contest, and a Bid Whist Tourament hosted by Clark State College from 2 to 7 p.m.

"We'll take take also to recognize a local trailblazer - Walt Lee Peterson - who was instrumental in Davey Moore's boxing career," Henry says.

A community health resources tent will be set up at the event to include free blood pressure screenings and other local health and safety resources.

Throughout the event, attendees can enjoy live music, children's rides, vendors and food trucks, all set up in the area near The Gammon House. 

"We're looking forward to this being a really successful event," Henry says. 

Read more articles by Natalie Driscoll.