Laurel Emancipation Day

Laurel's oldest annual festival - Emancipation Da - dates back more than 100 years and commemorates the freeing of slaves in the United States. Marching bands lead a parade from the Grove community, and Emancipation Community Park is filled with great food and music, with plenty of socializing and co-ed softball games. (File photo by Phil Grout / April 19, 2013)

St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 601 Eighth St., is preparing for the community's annual Emancipation Day celebration. The daylong observance is set for Saturday, Sept. 7, from 11 a.m. till dusk at Emancipation Park, Eighth and West streets. The theme of the day is "A Celebration of History, Culture and Freedom. Reclaiming, Remembering and Relating."

Entertainment will include a DJ, face painting and a moon bounce. Various vendors will be on hand. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

In addition, there will be a 5K run/walk and a One-Mile Fun Walk. Proceeds will benefit the University of Maryland's Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology Center. Registration fee is $20. For additional information, contact the church at 301-776-8885.

Are you aware that this is an election year? The city of Laurel will hold its general election on Nov. 2. All five city council seats will be up for grabs. Candidates must be 21 years of age, a U.S. citizen and a city resident for at least one year. You must also live in the city ward where you are seeking election.

If interested, you can ask for a copy of "Running for Elected Office," a packet of information from the office of the clerk, at 301-725-5300, Ext. 2121, or email krau@laurel.md.us. The filing deadline, Sept. 3, is rapidly approaching.

Those serving on the council do so in two-year increments. The office of mayor, which is not on this year's ballot, is elected every four years.

Laurel City Swim Team had five members advance to the All Stars meet, which was held at Whitehall Pool in Bowie. They include Eanna and Ava Hehir-Keys, Mathew Whelan, Nyla Smith and Reagan Bouie. The squad was managed by Audra Whitelock and trained under the watchful eye of head coach Susie Keys and assistant coaches Sean Whitelock and Marcia Dietz. Other notable standouts in the local aquatic club were Nazaire and Neheimah Smith, Ivan Zapata, Cameron Bouie, Kendall Foote, James Krehbiel and Jesse Rocco. Overall, the small but determined group finished third in the Prince Mont Swim League.

Drivers should be mindful of school buses loading and discharging passengers as school started in Prince George's County on Aug. 17. The fines for passing a stopped bus are steep.