Denvers Juneteenth Festival fell on hard times and went on hiatus a few years ago. The event wasnt financially feasible, and there wasnt a great organization backing it, says Dana Juniel, co-chair of marketing for the festival. Last year was the rebirth, bringing it back and focusing on the real history of what Juneteenth is about and getting youth and families out.
This year, festival organizers and the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce are aiming to improve the celebration even more with great food and music. For families, the Kid Zone play area will be doubled in size, and theres a three-on-three basketball tourney for teens.
Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when slaves in Galveston, Texas, learned that President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier. A lot of people, even African-Americans, dont understand the true meaning of Juneteenth and what it represents, says Juniel. This year, were focusing on Colorado history and the impact African-Americans have had on the community.
The parade starts at 9 a.m. at Manuel High School, and the festival goes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Welton Street. There will be gospel music in the morning, hip-hop and dance performances for the kids, and jazz headlined by the Mary Louise Lee Band. For information, go to www.denverjuneteenth.org.
Sat., June 20, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 2009