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May Day event is today

Opp’s annual May Day celebration is set for today, Sat., May 9.

Covington County NAACP President Aaron Bogen said festivities will kick off on Hardin Street between 10 and 11 a.m.

Bogen said there will be a softball tournament and a car show.

The event is held annually to “celebrate the freedom from slavery.”

Organizers said the motivation behind the event was that though President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in January, it wasn’t until May that the northern forces made their advance and freed Southern slaves.

In years past, local law enforcement has provided extra detail to help with crowd control for the event that often brings nearly 2,000 people to the city.

Opp Police Chief Mike McDonald would not comment on whether there would be extra patrol this weekend.

However, he did say they have had numerous arrests in years past, but have also had years where there were not many.

It’s a measure that Bogen said isn’t necessary because the neighborhood has made vast improvement to curb previous gambling and drug problems.

However, there is alcohol consumption, he said.

Bogen said he feels the community is targeted by law enforcement each year during this event, and he has asked state NAACP leaders to come to the event to see for themselves.

“We hope people will come and have a good weekend,” McDonald said.