COLORADO SPRINGS — Events commemorating Juneteenth will take place all over the country this weekend, including here in southern Colorado.
Juneteenth marks June 19, 1865, when the Union Army brought word to Galveston, Texas that slavery had been outlawed. Then-president Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier. It has been a state holiday in Texas for 40 years, and at this time another 46 states and the District of Columbia celebrate it in some way on the state level.
Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed legislation establishing Juneteenth, June 19, as a federal holiday. Then Wednesday, the House approved the measure, sending it to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature. By making it a federal holiday, the bill only guarantees federal workers will get Juneteenth off, there is no requirement that private businesses give employees the day off.
In Colorado Springs, the Juneteenth Festival will be held at America the Beautiful Park all weekend, from Friday, June 18 to Sunday, June 20.
According to the festival's website, the Colorado Springs Juneteenth Festival is the biggest celebration of inclusion to ever be held at America the Beautiful Park. The mission of the festival is "to bring together people from every background and community for a time of celebration, music, and family fun."
Over three days, the festival will feature concerts, a step show, a car show, a fashion show, a 5k run, and games and activities for all ages.
Entrance to the festival is free and opens to the public at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 18. More information including a schedule, where to park, and how to get involved can be found here: COS Juneteenth Festival
In Pueblo, a Juneteenth celebration is scheduled for Saturday, June 19 at Bessemer Park.
The celebration takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. Visitors can visit booths, food vendors, and participate in activities for all ages. The event will also have a vaccination site.
Find more information on the Pueblo Juneteenth celebration here: Juneteenth Organization of Pueblo
Denver's Juneteenth Music Festival is also back and in-person this year. This year will mark the first that the holiday is officially commemorated in Denver.
In Denver, Juneteenth celebrations date back to the 1950s and the Juneteenth Music Festival is one of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in the country.
The celebration kicks off Friday, June 18 with a concert at Levitt Pavillion and runs through Sunday, June 20.
The celebration includes a parade on Saturday, June 19, and a two-day street festival.
More information on the celebration and events happening throughout the weekend can be found here: Juneteenth Music Festival