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How central Kentucky communities are celebrating Juneteenth this year

Posted at 7:21 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 19:21:03-04

MOUNT STERLING, Ky. (LEX 18) — Inside the DuBois Community Center on Friday, Valerie Scott is moving in easels and making sure everything is in its place as the center kicks off a weekend full of Juneteenth celebrations.

Juneteenth is Emancipation Day, the official marker of the end of slavery in the United States.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday, which Scott said gives them even more reason to celebrate this year.

“We’re going to celebrate it every year, just like we celebrate July 4th,” Scott said. “It’s very important for people to know that we’re not going to slide this history under the table. We’re going to embrace it, talk about it, educate about it, and we’re going to celebrate it.”

The DuBois Community Center is hosting a series of events this weekend, starting with an Afrocentric art exposition Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The art show displays the work of local black artists.

Michael Minter said being invited to showcase his paintings is one of the ‘highest honors’ of his career because Juneteenth is such an important moment in history.

“Those people, that moment that they became free, that had to be the most powerful moment,” Minter said. “It’s a very emotional day because kids growing up now will have a holiday to understand where they came from. They have a holiday based on the freedom of their grandparent’s grandparents that now allows them to be able to read a book and sit and socialize with people of other colors. It’s a very, very emotional day being able to celebrate this.”

The DuBois Community Center will also host a Dirt Bowl on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 pm. On Sunday, the center will lead an educational Juneteenth program and offer a soul food dinner for the community at 1 p.m.

In Jessamine County, those wishing to celebrate the holiday can visit Clinton Hayden Park on Friday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m for the Juneteenth Children’s Fun Night. The event hosted by the Jessamine County Public Library includes live performances and games and activities for children.

Clark County will also be celebrating Juneteenth this year. The Winchester Black History and Heritage Committee will host a Juneteenth Festival at Heritage Park on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The celebration will include live music and booths featuring local businesses.