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A look at Denton’s Juneteenth celebration

A look at Denton’s Juneteenth celebration

Gospel singer Karisma belts out her powerful voice during a performance at the Juneteenth celebration on Friday June 16. Karisma was the second performer of the evening, bringing a burst of soul and presence to the music. PC: Katie Jenkins

A look at Denton’s Juneteenth celebration
June 22
23:26 2017

This past weekend, Denton celebrated its 47th Juneteenth Festival at Fred Moore Park with plenty of live music to enjoy, food to eat and games to play. It’s a festival that brings the community of Denton together, but more importantly celebrates a momentous time in American history.

June 19, 1865 was the announcement of the abolition of slavery throughout the the United States. Juneteenth celebrates that accomplishment.

“It’s our heritage,” Myrtle’s BBQ chef Alvin Bradley said. “It’s when we, as African Americans, got our freedom and became American citizens.”

The first day of the festival started with all the catering tents getting set up and ready to make food for the festival attendees while craft stands began setting up to sell homemade jewelry and art.

“My favorite part of the festival is just being out here with everyone,” Denton resident Baby Sampson, who was selling jewelry, said. “Juneteenth shows that after all that we have been though, we are able to celebrate the privilege of becoming citizens. But that we still have a long way to go. Not just us, but everyone.”

Later in the night, the gospel concert began. With some popular hymns and songs playing in the background of the festival, Denton natives Amanda Maxfied-Curtis, Kirisma Evans and the Bucketheads, a group of younger children playing percussions on 5 gallon plastic buckets, took the stage.

It was an event of worship, celebration, and singing.

“The best part of the festival is seeing hearing the music,” said Juan Silvia, a Repecci’s Italian Ice stand worker. “Growing up here it’s a great celebration of freedom in Texas.”

Denton Sligshot owners join the annual Juneteenth parade on Saturday June 17. The parade started at the Denton Civic Center and ended at Fred Moore Park. Cameron Roe

The second day of the festival started in the morning with the Juneteenth parade. The parade is a staple of Denton’s Juneteenth festival, and it provided the opportunity for fun, floats and festivities.

Businesses from all over Denton, such as Beautz Barber Shop and Denton Higher Care, made their way through the festival. During the parade, officials were campaigning for their respective offices.

Other parade goers were citizens of Denton driving in classic cars, SLR Slingshots and even on horseback. Paraders tossed candy to the younger crowd members to enjoy while others recreated history on their floats to remind everyone just what Juneteenth was all about.

After the parade, there were water slides to escape the summer heat, and the Purpose Church of Denton presented various games for the kids to play, full of prizes and gifts.

“I like the idea of people coming together and making a positive aspect for the community,” Senior Pastor Michael Herron said. “To put it in small words, Juneteenth is a day of celebration of freedom. And that means a lot.”

Throughout the day, there was a softball tournament with eight different and excited teams playing to win and a basketball tournament. Though the highly anticipated home run derby was cancelled, it didn’t stop peoples’ spirits.

The festival ended with the Hip-Hop Explosion, with Soulful Soundz leading the stage with spirited renditions of some well-known songs and some original songs as well.

While the festival presented a plethora of activities and acts, everyone walking the festival grounds were there to celebrate the history and accomplishments that comes with Juneteenth.

“[I love] the variety the festival brings,” Eatie’s employee Dejahnae Woods said. “All the kids are here playing and [Denton is just] enjoying the summer. [Juneteenth] is just wonderful. Everyone comes together for the festival.”

Featured Image: Gospel singer Karisma sings during a performance at the Juneteenth celebration on Friday June 16. Karisma was the second performer of the evening, bringing a burst of soul and presence to the music. Katie Jenkins

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Michael Vu

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