COLORADO SPRING — The third annual Juneteenth Festival is returning to Colorado Springs this weekend.
The three-day event will begin on Friday at America the Beautiful Park. The celebration has a packed schedule with everything from a talent show, to live music, and a variety of food vendors.
The event welcomes people from all backgrounds as it hopes to educate attendants about black culture in Colorado Springs.
"This is where black Americans get to really express their freedoms and show their culture to the city," said Terry Josiah Sharpe from the Southern Colorado Juneteenth Festival "And the city has been standing behind this and saying, hey, we love the culture and we want to amplify it on the next level."
Sharpe said last year, nearly 10,000 people attended the festival, and this year, it comes right after the city’s first elected black mayor took office.
“Because we have just selected our first black and immigrant Mayor Yemi Mobilade, there is some historical significance to this, to this particular event,” said Sharpe.
Derien Latimer owns Latimer’s Kitchen & Catering, and began his business back in 2007. As a black entrepreneur, it’s his first time as a vendor at the festival. He’ll be serving up a fusion of east Texas barbecue and soul food from the south.
“I think we want to just show the broader community that hey, there's a there's another part of our community that maybe you haven't become familiar with,” said Latimer, who added this weekend will also showcase black leaders in the community.
For many including Latimer, the event also shows growth and progress in the city.
“We have not celebrated Juneteenth as a community in this way. Not in our history in Colorado Springs. So the fact that we are getting together on such a large scale, yes, it's, it's progress for us. It's a good thing,” said Latimer. “It’s really a time for us to celebrate, you know, not just the black community but the community of Colorado Springs.”
For more information and a schedule for the Southern Colorado Juneteenth Festival, click here.
The official Juneteenth falls on Monday. The day commemorate the end of slavery in The United States, back on June 19, 1865. That’s when a union general arrived in Texas to inform a group of enslaved African Americans of their freedom. That was two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issues the emancipation proclamation.
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