This was not Columbia's first Juneteenth celebration. Folks from all over the city's African American community came together to celebrate freedom and to honor their ancestors' years of oppression.
"To me I would sum it up in one word: Freedom," Columbia resident Cornellia Williams said.
Williams is just one of roughly a hundred expected to celebrate freedom in Columbia on Saturday.
"Today we are living Martin Luther King's dream. Remember when he said I want everybody to be able to come together? Well that's what this is: Everybody being able to come together, the rich the poor, the old, the young and just celebrate," Williams said.
She's lived in Columbia all her life and says the city has changed in that time. She says it's good that celebrations like Juneteenth can peacefully bring the city together.
"I think we need to keep doing this in the community because you know recently we've had a lot of violence that is happening in the city, and we need to be able to have places for people to go," Williams said.
Although they celebrate freedom, some say changes still need to be made.
"They should be elated that they are free in this country...But we still have a long ways to go you know. We're free on one hand but then we have things we need to improve on on the other," Ward 1 Council Representative Almeta Crayton said.
But surrounded by food and drinks, Williams and others say Juneteenth paints a picture of what African American heritage is all about.
"I think it's real important to remember that we are somebody. And that nothing should be able to limit us to what we desire to do in life or to be in life," Williams said.
There are several other Juneteenth celebrations taking place all over the area including one in Jefferson City and another in Sedalia.
Columbia's celebration continues through Sunday. For more information you can call (573) 874-6379.