A Community United at This Year's Lincolnville Festival

Beverly Trotman from the Elks Lodge #649 on Washington Street in Lincolnville,Temple #413 in St. Augustine, Florida
Beverly Trotman with her baked goods for the Elks Lodge #649 on Washington Street in Lincolnville, Temple #413 in St. Augustine, Florida.

The 2022 Lincolnville Festival is an ode to the Lincolnville businesses of yesterday, celebrating the community and the more than 60 Lincolnville businesses that used to line the streets. Now, there are only a few businesses left, but the Corner Market still stands, and the former Excelsior High School has been transformed into the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center, one of the many sponsors of the festival.

Lincolnville used to be a flourishing hub of African American businesses surrounded by an African American community, and for many years the Lincolnville Festival was held at Washington Street, something that was on the mind of many local visitors. 

"I want to thank Mrs. Wise for her obligation, for bringing this back down here, and for having us all here joining together," said Corrine, a former Lincolnville resident, who had grown up in the community. "This is Lincolnville. This is where we grew up, this is our home, this is our home away from home. There will never be another Lincolnville, bringing it back down here, it is a start in the right direction. That means bringing everyone, who used to live here, trying to bring them back together, bringing it back to where it used to be. Having a good time and just coming together."


"I remember back in the day, when we had the festival at Francis Field, on Washington Street, and at the Galimore Center. We're having it down here now," says Corinne. "Back in the day my dad used to have a barbecue, it was called Johnson's barbecue, and he was recognized as having the best bbq in St. Augustine. My mom, Dorothy Johnson, she had the soul food stand, Johnson's Soulfood. Back then we had the rides with the kids, everyone came together as one, as a family, and it was wonderful. This is Lincolnville. Doing things like this is what makes Lincolnville. When you don't come together as one, it is like you're forgotten about. Once everyone comes together and step up to do what they have to do, everything is good."

In 2017 the Lincolnville Historic Preservation and Restoration Society took over the festival, and the organization has brought the festival back down into the heart of the Lincolnville community.

Madeline Wise explains how the festival started on Washington Street, before it ended up down by the Galimore Center until the LHPRS took over. "When we took it over in 2017, we put it here in the middle. We couldn't go back to Washington Street. Everybody would have liked to have been on Washington Street. When we started it, we decided that we wanted to have little bit more meaning to it, so each year we've highlighted something, like this year's Our Businesses of Yesterday, where we have a booklet with the businesses that we had back in the day in Lincolnville  62 businesses. Last year we recognized the seniors that were 80 and older that were still living. We try to put some history with it. Have fun, but learn history, so that's our main key that everyone attending will learn something about Lincolnville. We just want to share our history."

Madeline Wise and her brother Gil Wise at the Lincolnville Festival, St. Augustine, Florida
Lincolnville Festival organizer Madeline Wise with her brother Gil Wise at the Lincolnville Festival, St. Augustine, Florida


Wise is excited about the festival, and her love for Lincolnville is clear. "I was born and raised in Lincolnville, and I tell people that we had fun. Everybody focuses on the civil rights, but I was five years old, so I didn't really know the significance of it. We just knew something was happening, but we had fun. We actually had a childhood. Some people talk about poverty, and I say that if we were living in poverty, we didn't know that, because everybody had the same. During the summer we'd go down to the Little Links, and Mr. Vickers, he took care of us. We played sports that people didn't even have a clue about. We had croquet, badminton, table tennis, we had everything, so we were rich in actuality, and we were comfortable."


Volunteers from the Lincolnville Historical Preservation and Restoration Society Deborah Palmer, Madeline Wise and Felicia Carswell in St. Augustine Florida
Volunteers and organizers Deborah Palmer, Madeline Wise and Felicia Carswell from the Lincolnville Historical Preservation and Restoration Society.

"The Lincolnville Festival began yesterday at the Galimore Center, where we were honoring our veterans with live music," says Nyk Smith from the Corner Market in Lincolnville. "Today we've brought it to the streets of Lincolnville, and on M.L. King, we'll be having live music, a children's play area, there will be a game truck and other fun things."

The Corner Market in Lincolnville and Roux Organics in St. Augustine, Florida
The Corner Market in Lincolnville and Roux Organics in St. Augustine, Florida

"At the Corner Market, I will be doing jerk chicken, black beans and rice, followed by some mac n cheese and fried cabbage," says Smith. "We'll be here late."

Roux Organics is the newest addition to the Lincolnville business district.


The Corner Market in Lincolnville and Roux Organics in St. Augustine, Florida
Roux Organics, St. Augustine


"We serve fine Cajun cuisine, southern style such as gumbos, crabcakes and more," says Stella Lacey from Roux Organics. "I'm from Louisiana, so it is authentic Louisiana Cajun food. Were excited to be here with all of the historic culture and being able to merge everything. I think it is beautiful, when communities can come together and eat and be happy and just serve each other." 


Mrs. Madeline Wise welcomed students from Veritas Classical School to the Lincolnville Festival.
Mrs. Madeline Wise welcomed students from Veritas Classical School to the Lincolnville Festival.

Students from Veritas Classical School in St. Augustine sang the National Anthem under the direction of Veritas music teacher Ashley Adams. 

Veritas Classical School opened up a Lincolnville campus on Martin Luther King Avenue in August of 2022.

"It's an honor to be asked to do this, because we really want to be a part of the community," says Head of Veritas Classical School, Mr. Andrew Smalley. "We see ourselves as a part of the community, especially as being able to help the older residents here. It was very meaningful to be able to do this today."


The Elks Lodge #649 on Washington Street, Temple #413
The Elks Lodge #649 on Washington Street, Temple #413


The Elks Lodge #649 on Washington Street, Temple #413 served baked goods and food featuring Stroman's BBQ. 

Beverly Trotman had baked lots of goods for the festival. "Oh it's wonderful. It's wonderful. I haven't been to a Lincolnville festival in a long time, so it is nice to get out. It's a good day." When asked, if she remembered the first Lincolnville Festival that she attended, she lit up."Yes, it was on Washington Street. It was the bomb. You had the bar right there, you had seafood, ribs and everything your hearts desired. You even had Chinese food. Oh man, it was awesome."


Educators from Polk County on a girls' trip visiting the Lincolnville Museum in St. Augustine. 


Yolanda Fowler had brought her girlfriends along to St. Augustine for a celebratory girls' trip, when they discovered the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center. "I've never been to an African American museum," said Fowler, an educator from Polk County. "I just wanted to see the history. I absolutely loved it. There was a lot of information, but it was very sad."

"We came across someone that I personally know," said Henreta Jarrett, also a Polk County educator. "Mr. Corbett from Bartow, and he was featured here, which was very interesting."


Atlin Otis with the Virgin Islands Caribbean Association of Jacksonville.
Atlin Otis with the Virgin Islands Caribbean Association of Jacksonville.

Atlin Otis with the Virgin Islands Caribbean Association of Jacksonville was at the Lincolnville Festival to spread her message. "Today we are presenting sand art, just creating awareness of the Caribbean in the community. We go into different community events, we go into schools, community centers, just creating that positive spirit through the youths and adults about culture and the whole wonderful Caribbean entity."









The Historic Lincolnville Festival continues Saturday and Sunday with a festive lineup. You can follow the Lincolnville Historic Preservation and Restoration Society on Facebook for more information.




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