By David Volz

The Blues and Sweet Potato Festival took place at Apollo Park in Pompano Beach on June 17. The event celebrated Juneteenth when slaves in Texas received word they had been freed from slavery. The celebration was organized by the Friends of the Northwest Branch Library in Pompano Beach.

Those who came could enjoy a wide variety of entertainment including blues musician Joey Gilmore, Windell Campbell, a story teller and other performance groups. The Florida Keys Reenactment Society gave demonstrations on military tactics during the Civil War as well as daily life and work during the mid-1800s. There was plenty of good food and the chance to spend time with family and friends.

Felicia Frazier, president of the Friends of the Northwest Branch Library like the event and believed it was good for the community. “We have professional story tellers, old fashioned games for the kids, good food and sweet potato pies. We also have blues music. We are having fun today,” she said. “We are also sharing the story of how the slaves were freed.”

Windell Campbell, an elementary school teacher and story teller gave a performance of the story of John Henry a man who could outwork a machine. “I want to share history with the people here,” he said.

Larry Metcalf a member of the Florida Keys Reenactors Society gave a performance of his blacksmithing skills. “Years ago, blacksmiths could make anything from metal. They would make nails and door hinges and other items,” he said.

Ann Marie Carpenter gave a demonstration on women’s life back the in the 1800s. At the time, women spent more time caring for their children and tending to household chores.