This year the Santa Cruz Juneteenth 2016 festival was on June 11th. The Saturday afternoon was filled with amazing music, delicious soul food, kid’s activities and much more. The best part of it all was that it was FREE! There was so many vendors selling real soul food, also popular were the many booths setup for activities by the Museum of Art and History. And who could forget the annual sack race! All free!
Starting off with a parade around 11am, city officials and the community marched in celebration of the african american emancipation. Music acts included Double Dee’s brass band, as well as several gospel and soul performances. What has come to be known as the “Black fourth of July” Santa Cruz has been celebrating Juneteenth for 25 years—but the holiday has a national history going back more than a century.
On June 19th, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, Texas with the news the Civil War had ended and enslaved were now free. 150 years later, we celebrate this remarkable event at Juneteenth celebrations across the country. A long-held tradition among African Americans, Juneteenth is a fun and special day for anyone who believes in freedom and equality for all people.
Youth were able to sign up for a free Basketball Skills Contest, featuring a 3-point contest, skills training, and around the world competition. Local High school basketball coaches along with Parks and Recreation staff lead the kids in the fun, basketball games. Prizes provided by the Santa Cruz Warriors semi-pro team.
More local musicians including Hip Hop artists Lee Earl, Dopeless, and Rich Tycoon were in attendance, sharing their skills and passion front and center on the beautiful stage in laurel park. The event took place outside of the Louden Nelson community center. Louden Nelson was a former slave who was emancipated and willed his entire estate to the Santa Cruz school district, he was a true hero.
For more photos and videos visit the official Santa Cruz Juneteenth Facebook page.
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