Hervey Town to host Juneteenth celebration Saturday

Published 12:57 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Hervey Town Neighborhood Association of Nicholasville is holding a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 17 at Clint-Hayden Park.

Tamar Sanders, president and founder of the neighborhood association has put on this Juneteenth event since 2021 before the association was even a legal organization, or a 501(c)(3), which didn’t happen until last September.

Although Sanders’ passion project has long been bringing the neighborhood together and holding events so that there are engaging things for neighbors to do through the neighborhood association, she wants to emphasize the focus of the event.

Email newsletter signup

In the past, Sanders said, “I think we were so caught up in planning the event that yes it was about Juneteenth, so we’re trying to spotlight Juneteenth, especially with the educational material that we give to the children.”

She wants to make sure that people know what this event is about, although it is two days before the date that the holiday commemorates – June 19, 1865.

“Juneteenth was created with Texas and how they were two years late in receiving the information that slavery had ended. But, a lot of people don’t know that yes in June, Texas got that information, but Kentucky didn’t get it until December that year,” Sanders said.

“It was kind of like oh maybe that’s a Texas thing, and now more people are acknowledging that it’s something that everyone can talk about and celebrate. With all the stuff that was going on, it was sad, but to me like with funerals, funerals are very sad, but there are also moments to celebrate that person or celebrate that instance and that’s what this is all about,” Sanders said. “We’re hoping everybody just has a good time and comes out and starts planning for next year.”

About the event

“Overall, the vibe of the event is literally like a family reunion. So, people who are not from or are not from the neighborhood are more than welcome to come,” said Sanders.

The event will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. From 2:30 to around 4 p.m., free meals will be available to event attendees.

In past years, Sanders said they have given 100 meals away. “We do have a free meal that we give out, but it’s a barbecue meal, a barbecue meal that you would get if you went to your family’s barbecue.”

Everyone gets two hot dogs, their choice of chips and a water bottle while supplies last.

At around 4 p.m., after the food is gone, vendors will be set up.

Sanders said that the neighborhood tries “to find minority-owned or locally owned businesses.”

Many of the vendors attending will be locally based selling wares and food. Other vendors include: UPS providing job information, the Jessamine County Health Department will be bringing its truck to provide a private area for health checkups and testing like HIV, etc., Camp Nelson will be providing black historical information resources, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth will be providing their own educational resources along with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Wellcare of Kentucky, and DCBS Foster Care Certification and Recruitment in Fayette County providing their own material. The Historical African American Locust Grove Cemetery group will be in attendance handing out information about the black cemetery in Nicholasville and Juneteenth trinkets.

Kids will be able to play in bounce houses from a Lexington-based Black woman-owned business.

“They’re fully insured, and they have attendants because I don’t want anybody’s kids to get hurt,” Sanders said.

The children’s area, other than the park’s playground, will be set up near the back of the park.

Sanders said this is so if people were to walk away from their children, they could see where they were at all times.

“We also block off that parking lot so that nobody parks there,” Sanders said, allowing space for children and adults to walk freely from the playground to the event space in the back of the park. “I’m trying to think of stuff like that from a mom’s point of view to make sure everybody is safe.”

The event will include live music from the Tim Talbert Project starting around 5:00 p.m., an R&B band from Lexington that does a lot of family-friendly events.

Other live entertainment will include a local DJ and a local emcee named Rodriguez Walker whose family has lived in Hervey Town for many generations.

The city of Nicholasville sponsored the band and Parks and Recreation sponsored the bounce house. Swahili Elks Lodge #1611 is a sponsor as well.

The majority of the event will take place in the back of the park where there is less shade.

Sanders asks those who plan to attend to bring chairs and tents. She said the neighborhood association will help folks set their tents up early and that they may even leave once it’s finished and come back to enjoy the event.

“We will also be honoring the remaining graduates of Rosenwald Dunbar because this is their 60th anniversary. The last graduating class of the segregated school.” Sanders said.

Hervey Town history

James Hervey was a white banker who set aside land so that when enslaved people were freed, they may buy land from him.

Sanders said that after emancipation, formerly enslaved people couldn’t get anyone to sell them homes.

“That’s how the area became predominantly an African American area,” Sanders said. “And then it affectionately became known as Hervey Town.

Sanders grew up on Chestnut Street. Her family has lived in Nicholasville since the town was created.

“Any Sanders and I’m probably related to them here,” she said.

As a child, Sanders said the neighborhood always had something going on. Her relatives had managed the local YMCA in the 70s and her aunt was the manager in the 80s and early 90s.

It had an open-door policy. Kids could always go there for fun or for help, regardless of whether they were in an after-school program.

Her family had owned a home in the neighborhood for around 50 years and only sold it when Tamar moved away around 1997.

“When I would come back to visit it just kind of seemed like I’m going back in time because there’s nothing to do when I’m here,” Sanders said.

The YMCA was different and now had a fence, and this is what launched Tamar into starting the Hervey Town Neighborhood Association. It started out with her not sending out invites but just barbecuing outside and getting her neighbors’ attention. Now, she is planning on doing something every month for the neighborhood, including a back-to-school backpack giveaway event.

Sanders is grateful for the work Parks and Recreation puts into Clint-Hayden Park and is looking forward to more collaboration in the future with the city and other agencies.

She spoke of creating some sort of indoor facility for the neighborhood and maybe building a stage like the one at Rock Fence Park.

“I think that with the city, they wanted to see first that people were interested in doing positive with the space cause that’s a lot of time, a lot of money to invest, so maybe this will encourage them to want to invest in the park with the new bathrooms and things like that,” Sanders said.

You can follow the Hervey Town Neighborhood Association on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/herveytownky.