Juneteenth festivities kick off at Freedom Walk and Run at Emancipation Park

Courtney Carpenter Image
Saturday, June 17, 2023
Festivities kick off at Emancipation Park for its Juneteenth event
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"Just being here, being able to be amongst the history that's here, for me, it's phenomenal," one runner celebrating the event told ABC13.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Festivities to commemorate Juneteenth are already underway around the Houston area.

The federal holiday is Monday, but the party kicked off early at the Freedom Walk and Run at Emancipation Park on Saturday.

People were getting their fitness on just enjoying being together and taking the time to reflect on the significance of Juneteenth.

June 19 marks the day troops arrived in Galveston in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people were freed.

The troops' arrival came a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. So Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.

RELATED: City installs welcome sign recognizing Galveston as birthplace of Juneteenth

ABC13 spoke to people Saturday morning about why it's so important for them to come out and celebrate.

"Emancipation Park is a landmark for this community, so I wanted to come out, really pour into the community and most importantly run, because I'm here to get it done," Terry Smith said.

"I'm originally from Chicago, born and raised, so just being here, being able to be amongst the history that's here, for me, it's phenomenal," he continued.

Besides the walk Saturday morning, the gates will open at 2 p.m. for the Juneteenth Musical Festival.

The concerts start at 3 p.m. with gospel artist V. Michael McKay kicking off the show, followed by Zydeco artist Step Rideau.

There are no tickets required. It's a free, fun, and fantastic way to celebrate Juneteenth.

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SEE ALSO: ABC13 anchor Briana Conner's mother among honorees at Juneteenth celebration in Fort Bend County