Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo Volunteer Spotlight: Patrick Cray, Parade Chair

Submitted by Jennifer Strickland, Public Relations Chair

The  Juneteenth Festival’s parade, probably the largest and longest cultural procession in the U.S., travels just over a mile from Genesee and Moselle Sts. to Martin Luther King Park, where vendors, concessioners,  entertainment stages, and more  await festival-goers for one of the greatest salutes to the African and African American experience.

The man behind this massive parade production is Buffalo’s own Patrick Cray.  Presently a    semi-retired,Buffalo Police Officer,  he’s in his third season as the chairman of the Festival’s parade committee.

His experience with Buffalo’s festival began nearly 30 years ago when he was hired to play music for the youth on the basketball court.  Becoming the parade committee’s lead was a task that Cray originally believed “would be much too difficult,” but he credits previous chair, Rhonda Turner, as “a great asset as I developed and was introduced to the many challenges that I welcomed.” Today, he shares that “I’ve always loved working within our community.  It’s my way of giving back.”

-2019 Parade Info

•Applications can be accessed @ juneteenthofbuffalo.com, and are due by Wednesday, May 15, 2019. A late fee applies after that date.

•Increased crowd-control personnel through the parade route.

•Selection to participate is at the discretion of Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo, Inc.

Cray’s excitement, about the June 15th 11 a.m. event is evident. “I welcome all marching bands, color guards, drummers, or any other act (to apply) that will make that day special for our community, our city, our parade.  I would love to see more decorated floats like in Macy’s parade.”

2019 Parade Volunteers Info – MASS VOLUNTEER SIGN-UP EVENTS: WED., MAY 8, 6 P.M. – 8 P.M. and SAT., MAY 11, 11:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. at Juneteenth Headquarters, 1517 Genesee St., Buffalo, 716-891-8801 – (The parade committee needs 15 adult volunteers to serve as Assistant Parade Marshals, and 8 youth volunteers to serve as official banner-holders who act as dividers of the parade’s divisions.)  See YOU at one of the sign-ups! – Peace and Love!