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Annual event draws thousands to Knobtown despite weather
The weather was nasty and a key bridge on a state highway at State Line was closed with no detour signs providing directions.
None of that mattered. The 25th anniversary edition of Greene County’s Black History Parade still drew thousands and there appeared to be no shortage of good will and good times in and around Knobtown.
“Everything went well,” Joyce Johnson, one of the event organizers, said Monday. “This was a very diverse parade and for everybody to come out in such great numbers despite the threat of bad weather is just great.”
Johnson said she did not have a good estimate of the overall crowd size, but said she did not notice any decrease in attendance because of the weather or confusion from the closure of the Chickasawhay River bridges on Miss. 42 outside State Line. Johnson said she knew there were a lot of newcomers this year and that local residents were once again joined by people from all across the United States.
“We had people from all over the country here this past week,” Johnson said. “And everybody appeared to have a really good experience.”
“We know we are going to have to take a look at our ATV policy next year, from a safety standpoint. But, outside of that, everything went smoothly, despite the rain.”
Johnson said she was grateful to Sheriff Stanley McLeod and his officers for their participation and to all who had an entry in the parade. She also thanked those who had a part in the black history program at Mt. Olive Baptist Church before lunch on parade day.
“I really do want to thank the sheriff’s office officials for their help and for how they handled things throughout the day,” Johnson said. “And, I appreciate Miss Fair Park Outstanding Teen Madison McCarter for kicking off the parade with the Negro National Anthem and to Natasha Molten for being our guest speaker at the program prior to the parade. We received a lot of positive feedback about the program.”
Meetings have already taken place looking toward planning the 26th annual event, which per tradition, is set for the last Saturday in February, 2020.
Herman Hardy, a county native that left home in 1986 and now calls Houston, Texas home, was at the event and said he plans to make his way home again this time next year. Hardy grew up in the area, and while his parents are deceased, he has two sisters living in State Line and a third in Knobtown. He and two brothers from Kansas City traveled back home for the event and Hardy said they all had a great time.
“I’ve been to the last four events,” Hardy said Tuesday while still in the area on vacation. “The weather wasn’t cooperating 100 percent, but everything still seemed to go very well.”
“It just makes for a great time to get together with friends and family and reconnect and enjoy some time together. It is really amazing to be in such a small place and having a good time together.”