Juneteenth Festival to Mark Slavery's End

More than 3,500 people are expected to attend the second annual Juneteenth in the San Fernando Valley, a festival and bazaar Saturday at the Hansen Dam Recreation Area celebrating what many African Americans recognize as the day slavery ended, organizers said.

The daylong event will include food and retail vendors, arts and crafts, two fashion shows, a petting zoo, tap dancing and an African dance group. The winners of an essay contest for local middle and high school students will also be announced and presented with awards.

Thirteen bands are expected to perform a wide variety of music, including jazz, gospel, rock, R&B; and salsa. Traditional Juneteenth food, including barbecued meat, red soda water and watermelon, will be available.

The event was organized by staffers of numerous local officials, including Mayor Richard Riordan, Los Angeles City Council members Richard Alarcon, John Ferraro, Mike Feuer and Cindy Miscikowski, state Sen. Herschel Rosenthal and U.S. Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman.

"So many young people don't know what Juneteenth is about," said Sherita Herring, president of Kreative Images Public Relations Group, which is helping organize the event. "Our focus is to make people aware of Juneteenth."

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the emancipation of slaves, 18 months after President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It was the first time many slaves heard they were now free.

"[The event] is educating the community about the Emancipation Proclamation," said Myran Cotton, community liaison for Ferraro's office, who also said that she hopes to draw residents from other Los Angeles neighborhoods into the San Fernando Valley.

Admission and parking are free. The festival will be held at 11700 Osborne St., Lake View Terrace, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (310) 538-3910.

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