Juneteenth Celebrations Wrap Up in Millville With Bang


More visitors at the Millville Juneteenth celebration on June 28, 2024


MILLVILLE — In the final Juneteenth celebration in New Jersey on Friday (June 28), Millville’s Fourth Friday festivities filled the riverside Captain Buck’s Park with the sounds, smells, atmosphere and excitement that would fit any festival connected with the national recognition.

It was the second straight year that Fourth Friday, organized by local businessman Wade Loatman with Bully Pest Management and the City of Millville, served as the city’s official Juneteenth celebration.

Thanks to Inspira Health Network for being our Juneteenth coverage sponsor

It is only the third year that New Jersey observed Juneteenth, which recognizes the end of racial slavery in the United States, and the second celebration for the country. Festivals, events, and programs have dotted South Jersey and the state all month.

Millville’s event ranked up there with some of the best Juneteenth events the state had to offer in 2024.

“This is an incredible crowd,” said Millville City Commissioner Marissa Ranello, who serves as director of parks and public properties. Loatman credited Ranello at the celebration for “making all of this happen.”

Loatman also lauded Samantha Cruz, the city’s manager of parks and public property with an Appreciation Award at the event for her work in helping Fourth Fridays grow.

Millville’s Fourth Friday celebrations run from May to August as a way to bring the local community together after the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it has become a much-anticipated annual gathering in the Holly City.

“It’s all about the community,” Loatman said. “It’s also about families. We wanted to create an event where families can be together and there is something for everyone, adults, teenagers, and children. This is for everyone.”

The aroma of hot dogs and hamburgers filled the air as the band The Muzik allowed people to dance and even sing with a constant string of past R&B hits. When the band was not playing deejay William Milbourne made sure the mood stayed high with catchy songs.

At one end of the park, visitors found retired Millville Municipal Court Judge Jason Witcher, who will teach at the Rutgers University Law School this fall, with Life Worth Living Credible Messenger Corey Glenn, engaging attendees.

READ: Judge Jason Witcher Says He Would Do It All Over Again

READ: Corey Glenn Becomes Positive Example

Popular barber and local philanthropist Barry Cephas led a crew of volunteers that grilled aseemingly endless count of hot dogs and hamburgers for the entire park as the line stretched near the front of the park.

“We’re just doing what we do,” Cephas said. “This is the kind of event that helps create memories and we positive memories.”

READ: Barber, DJ Barry Cephas Makes a Difference

On the other end of the park, lines of children tried their hands various games and enjoyed the large bounce house under the watchful eye of their parents. The Cumberland County 4-H brought small animals for the young people to see.

Jerry Young and Terry Gould, co-founders of Tri City H.O.P.E. and the Bridgeton Juneteenth celebration, attended the Fourth Friday/Juneteenth celebration. The anti-gang violence nonprofit Life Worth Living, led by John Fuqua, one of the event’s sponsors, talked to young people along the main walkway as well.

Loatman also lauded the volunteer efforts of Cephas, Ashley Campbell, Diane Rogers, from the Arts Renaissance Center and Willie “Nice Man” White.

Sponsors for the Juneteenth event were Four Seasons Landscaping, Life Worth Living, Inspira Health Network and Krazy Kids Cookies. Loatman said others making significant contributions included Outta Boundz Mentoring, Sound Body Sound Mind, Project Inspiration and Mitch Fit Sports Wear.

Some of the vendors taking part included Millville Police, NJ Family Care, NJ4S, Bunny Whipp products, Queen of Bling by Jaleeyah, Angela Branch Skin Care and Cumberland County 4-H, among others.

The next Fourth Friday is scheduled for July 26.

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