Photo by Chris Cooper Many turned out for the 8th of August Golf Scramble Saturday morning held at Rolling Hills in Russellville.

Photo by Chris Cooper

Many turned out for the 8th of August Golf Scramble Saturday morning held at Rolling Hills in Russellville.

A plethora of activities was held this past weekend as part of the annual 8th of August festival.

From a 5K run, golf scramble and block party to a parade, basketball tournament and good old fashioned food and fun, hundreds turned out from all over the community and country to take part in celebrating the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The annual remembrance celebration for African-Americans gaining their freedom from slavery goes back decades. The event, which is more commonly called "the 8th of August" has been celebrated throughout western Kentucky for over 140 years. Since starting up in Russellville in the 1980s after originating in Allensville, the festival has grown just about every year.

"We don't really know where the date of the 8th of August came from," local historian Michael Morrow said. "That's just when it's always been. I can remember when I was a kid, it was always celebrated on the eighth. Black people would not go to work on the eighth, but now we do it on the weekend."

On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which changed the course of the Civil War and led to the eventual freeing of an estimated 500,000 slaves. Several events are held around the country commemorating the document.