RIO GRANDE — The 153rd Emancipation Day Celebration weekend will return to the Bob Evans Farm in Rio Grande to be celebrated Sept. 17 -18 with a Sept. 16 date also at the Ariel Theater in Gallipolis.
The Sept. 16 homecoming reception and concert will be held at Ariel-Dater Hall in Gallipolis and begin at 6 p.m.
Emancipation Day committee members promise that “history will come alive” as American Civil War re-enactors and the USCT 5th Regiment will be camping at the farm. Presentations by performers will be held in the main tent.
River Valley High School Marching Band and the Civil War musician Steve Ball will perform Saturday morning of the Emancipation Day Celebration and Brittany Franklin and Company and Linae Scott will perform that Saturday afternoon.
Sunday services at the Bob Evans Farm will consist of gospel music by Zion Beaver Baptist Church Choir and a sermon given by the Rev. Keith Jackson of Zion Beaver Baptist Church in Beaver, Ohio.
Sunday’s keynote speaker will be President Roderick McDavis of Ohio University in Athens. McDavis is the 20th and current president of the university. McDavis has served as both a professor and academic administrator.
McDavis and his wife, Deborah, helped launch two key Ohio University scholarship initiatives — the Urban Scholars and Appalachian Scholars programs. The two programs were created to support one of McDavis’s primary goals, which is to increase the diversity of the student population and enhance opportunities for high-achieving students who may not otherwise have an opportunity to get a college education. These programs provide academically gifted students from disproportionately represented backgrounds with full-tuition scholarships as well as support for textbooks and professional development opportunities. The Urban Scholars Program focuses on students from major metropolitan areas, while the Appalachian Scholars Program selects students from 29 Appalachian counties in Ohio.
McDavis recently announced that he will retire next year. He has been in office 12 years, making him the longest-serving sitting president at a major public university in Ohio.