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Juneteenth Celebration kicks off in downtown

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BATON ROUGE - People moved to the sound of live gospel music Saturday as the Juneteenth Celebration kicked off in downtown Baton Rouge.

The celebration has taken place for five years now, and every year it grows in size.

"Initially it was 400 to 500 people with one stage," organizer Wayne Jones said. "Now we have two stages, a karaoke area and over 5,000 to 6,000 people who plan to be in attendance today."

The Juneteenth Celebration offers a little something for everyone. In addition to live music, this year's event featured balloon rides for the kids, a variety of vendors and of course, a lot of food.

"We do our best to make it bigger and better," organizer LaTangela Sherman said. "That way we can have a lot of entertainment come out. We have the cook off and then we have a lot of motivational speakers come out as well. Just telling the community to come out and enjoy each others  time and company and fellowship."

The Juneteenth Celebrations take place every year around the country, but actually mark the end of a dark period in the country: the day African American slaves were freed in Texas two years after the other states in the south.

"And some people don't know why we celebrate it," Terrell Griffin said. "They think it's day somebody created, but it's a date people to know that we were really free on this date."


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