Hundreds gathered on the lawn across from the Solano County Government Center Saturday for an amalgamation of past, present and future peppered with faith, food and fun at Fairfield’s first ever Juneteenth celebration.
Hosted by the Fairfield Clergy Action Network, the event was emceed by Fairfield City Councilwoman Pam Bertani.
“This is a day of hope and also a day of liberty,” declared Renee Trotter, member of Fairfield CAN and the first lady of Lamb of God In Christ Ministries (LOGIC) in Fairfield. “We have been liberated. We are free.”
The day marks the 1865 anniversary of when the last enslaved people in America were freed in Texas, organizers have explained. Though emancipation was announced several years prior, it wasn’t until this date that word of slavery’s end had come to Texas.
Fast forward to 2022, where the Fairfield community came together for “A Celebration of Freedom,” complete with prayer, testimonials, a proclamation, the sharing of memories and hope and an idea of strengthening a sense of unity for all.
Fairfield police and fire were there, along with a multitude of organizations and businesses and a representative from Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown’s office, among others.
Trotter encouraged celebrants to embrace the day with open hearts, laughter and joy.
“We are Fairfield. We are Solano. And more important, we are one,” she said.
“It’s amazing,” she shared. “God is with us.”
The aim, she said, was to bring together the different facets of the community in partnership with the faith community and aid with resources for all.
“This is all about love,” Bertani emphasized. “For each other, for the community, for our God. We’re just thankful for all the love here.”
Attendees of all ages traversed the grounds, enjoying free meals from a plethora of food trucks; browsing activities and businesses, organizations and retail goods; playing games; and, mostly, meeting up with friends and making new ones.
“I love it,” said Janice Hickson of Fairfield and a LOGIC member. “It’s exciting to see that our clergy is part of this, people loving together and loving the Lord.”
Across the way on the greens fronting the Old Solano County Courthouse, Marilyn Kilian of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church played a game of croquet, miniature golf and soccer with a little boy. His feet were swift, his kicks fast and his yardage long.
Kilian called it a beautiful day (in the 70s and 80s with ample sunshine) to be outdoors with kids.
“I think it’s kind of fun,” she said, kicking the ball back to the child.
The event was slated to last into the early evening and, judging by the turnout and crowd feedback, may likely become an annual event.