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Champaign to host annual Juneteenth festival at Douglass Park on Saturday

Suits By Souljah's Brianna Dixon and Herbert Burnett sell t-shirts in 2020 at a Juneteenth event, organized by Champaign gun violence awareness organization HV Neighborhood Transformation.

CHAMPAIGN — On Saturday, Chambanites can celebrate the end of slavery at Douglass Park with a bouncy house, photo booth, small business fair and more.

Champaign Park District coordinator Robert White helped organize the Juneteenth event. He remembers the first time he learned about Juneteenth from his fraternity brother in college.

“It was shocking because it was something that I did not know and felt somewhat remiss that I hadn’t been celebrating, because it’s such an important part of our history – of American history,” White says.

Saturday’s event will take place from noon to 3 p.m. at Douglass Park. Champaign Public Library is a co-host.

President Joe Biden and Governor J.B. Pritzker established Juneteenth as federal and state holidays last year.

Other Juneteenth celebrations across Champaign County will take place on Saturday at Crestview Park in Urbana and at the Dis n Dat barbecue restaurant in Rantoul.

On Sunday, Neil St. Blues in Champaign will host an evening concert and buffet. The concert starts at 7 p.m.

Emily Hays is a reporter for Illinois Public Media. Follow her on Twitter @amihatt.

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Emily Hays

Emily Hays

Emily Hays started at WILL in October 2021 after three-plus years in local newsrooms in Virginia and Connecticut. She has won state awards for her housing coverage at Charlottesville Tomorrow and her education reporting at the New Haven Independent. Emily graduated from Yale University where she majored in History and South Asian Studies.

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