Mount Dora will join other communities across the country by hosting a Juneteenth Festival this Saturday, June 24.
The family-friendly festival will be held on historic Grandview Street between Grant and Florida Avenues from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
There will be vendors, food, beer and wine, a kids zone and music from David Oliver Willis, David Julia Band, TNT and ETurn. American Idol winner Candice Glover will also be present.
Juneteenth, the oldest celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., has been a tradition since the late 19th century and is now recognized in 43 states. This is Mount Dora’s first event.
June 19, known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Emancipation Day, is the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865. Although Abraham Lincoln freed all slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, Texas was geographically remote and its slave owners ignored the new law. Only Texas slaves that escaped could enjoy freedom in the North.
June 19 marks the date Union General Gordon Granger arrived on Galveston Island with 2,000 troops to establish a federal presence in Texas and officially free its slaves.
Today, community Juneteenth festivals celebrate African American freedom and achievement, encourage respect for all cultures, and strive to create new bonds of friendship and understanding. Celebrations often include public BBQs, live music, readings of the Emancipation Proclamation and singing of traditional spirituals.