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St. Joseph celebrates Juneteenth

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(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) It was a beautiful weekend for people in the community to celebrate Juneteenth.

The official federal holiday was on Sunday, marking the 157th anniversary of when the last slaves were finally set free in Texas.

On Saturday, the city celebrated the holiday with a day long event at the Bartlett Center.

“I am extremely elated and excited to be able to come together and to just be a part of everything in the community. I mean, I just think it's amazing to be able to do this this year,” event organizer LaTonya Williams said.

Juneteenth celebration returned to St. Joseph this weekend and there was something for everyone, from the parade, pickup basketball games and even a petting zoo.

Organizers of the event hope that this weekend full of events will bring inclusion and information to the St. Joseph community.

“I would like for everybody to come out to see the importance of Juneteenth. You know, a lot of people said they've never heard of it, and it's a national holiday now. I think that's great. I mean, that's a stepping stone, you know, for everyone. I would like people to come and see and really get the importance of what Juneteenth really is and what it means,” Chonte Bullock said. 

St. Joseph mayor John Josendale said that with events like this, he hopes the city will continue to grow together.

“You're seeing kids out enjoying each other, you're seeing people interacting, you're seeing the fact that this area of town is recognized and the fact that we're all part of one city and that's where we're trying to get we're trying to be positive for all people in St. Joe,” Josendale said. 

The celebration continues on and those leading the festivities encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the fun.

“Juneteenth is not only our weekend, everyone is included, everyone is encouraged in order to come out and participate and celebrate,” Williams said. 

Juneteenth was recognized in several states before becoming a federal holiday in 2021.

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