Heritage Festival in Jefferson City celebrates Juneteenth

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Juneteenth Heritage Festival is keeping the history of Juneteenth alive in mid-Missouri.

Juneteenth is a national holiday that remembers the official emancipation of African American slaves in the United States.

"Juneteenth is the oldest celebration of slaves becoming free on June the nineteenth in 1865, which was about two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation," said Gwendolyn Edmonson, Juneteenth-Jefferson City Board Vice President.

The Heritage Festival is a free outdoor event. The community is invited to enjoy the festival's exhibits, vendors, food, music, prizes and entertainment.

Edmondson said the main focus of the event is education.

"It's family oriented and we hope that everybody can come out and enjoy the festival, but what we try to do is have that educational component in there, so that people can learn more about our history and about Juneteenth why we celebrate Juneteenth," she said.

Tammy Nobles, Juneteenth pageant director, said it is important for children to know this part of American History that is often overlooked.

"I believe if we start teaching what Juneteenth is and what it's all about at a young age then as they grow older they'll know, but then also began sharing it with their peers," she said.

The Juneteenth Heritage Festival is Saturday at 11 am. It will be held at Ellis Porter Riverside Park.