Celebrate black history, culture and food during Juneteenth in Atlanta

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Celebrate black history, culture and food during Juneteenth in Atlanta

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Juneteenth Atlanta Parade & Music Festival Facebook/For the AJC
Artist paints a woman's face at a previous Juneteenth event.

African-American history will be championed in a major way during this weekend's Juneteenth celebration.

From the Black History Parade to live performances, the 5th annual Juneteenth Atlanta Parade & Music Festival will be a multi-day event to go down in the history books. Already, more than 10,000 people have chimed in on the Facebook event page so far.

"The vision has really developed into building one of the largest parades in the world that displays African American history pre- and post-slavery," Juneteenth Atlanta Director Bob Johnson said.

Atlantans came out to last year's Juneteenth. Juneteenth Atlanta Parade & Music Festival Facebook/For the AJC

Prepare for the event happening June 16-18 by knowing what to expect from the fun-filled jubilee at the historically-black college Morris Brown College, 643 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30314.

The festival celebrates a pivotal moment in American history. 

Juneteenth is named for the day when the last slaves in American Confederate states were freed on June 19, 1865, which was years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863.

Each year, Juneteenth Atlanta, which is a local nonprofit organization, honors African American accomplishments that go back over 150 years by holding events that showcase black culture and history.

The festival welcomes black-owned businesses, local artists and genealogy researchers to help encourage family and community unity. Since the celebration falls on Father's Day weekend, dads are also honored and those who share the Gemini zodiac sign are encouraged to "do the Boogie."

Expect eye-catching moments each day. 

From 1-9 p.m. Friday, the festival will be in full swing with Family Friday, which includes a poster-making project, and vendors will open for business at the festival grounds at Morris Brown College.

On Saturday at noon, the Juneteenth Black History Parade, which is the main attraction for the weekend, will travel east from Mosley Park to Morris Brown College. During the parade 11 floats will ride the route including ones dedicated to black history leaders, such as Harriet Tubman, Madam C.J. Walker and Fannie Lou Hammer.

"The parade tells our stories and the contributions and the achievements that have occurred," Johnson said.

The Atlanta Mass Band, Band of Champions and Atlanta Public School bands will march in the parade, and dance teams, such as the Memphis Mystique, will shimmy to the sounds.

On Sunday, the celebration will continue with an Afro Fashion Show & Swimsuit Review. Throughout the weekend, a variety of other things are planned such as book signings, massages, yoga in the park and a Freedom Run.

Prepare to hear lots of live music.

Over 100 artists have signed up to perform at Juneteenth Atlanta, with sounds including opera, spiritual, hip-hop, funk, jazz and blues. Even young kids will hit the Main Stage as entertainers. Some performers include singer-songwriter DeAnna Dawn and rock-soul band NubAtomic. Each day of Juneteenth Atlanta has its own lineup of artists that will be sure to get you dancing along.

Get ready to be immersed into culture.

The vendor market will feature African-American, family-owned businesses that sell items such soaps, jewelry and fashions. African inspired clothing store Nubian Goods will be one of the vendors, along with African-American head wrap shop Wrapper Delights.

"It's like a treasure. It's the ultimate shopping experience for the public," Johnson said.

Expect foods that will peak your taste buds like frozen treats from Dolphins Water Ice Factory, jerk chicken and Caribbean food. Food trucks will abound, and even an 11-year-old will be serving up renowned hot dogs.

Read more about the Juneteenth plans in Marietta and more here.

People 2 People June 12, 2017
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