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Harrisburg to host its first Juneteenth celebration this Saturday

Two years after becoming an official holiday, Harrisburg will host its first official Juneteenth celebration this Saturday.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — For the first time in Harrisburg, the city will celebrate Juneteenth this Saturday.

The holiday marks the day news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the enslaved population of Galveston, Texas in 1865, two-and-a-half years after it was signed. A recently federally and state-recognized holiday, the day also aims to highlight Black culture, heritage, and unity across the state. 

Harrisburg Mayor Wanda Williams, alongside other county commissioners, announced the Juneteenth celebration will be held June 18, in front of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. City Government Center. This is the first jointly-sponsored event between the city of Harrisburg and the county. 

"Juneteenth is a holiday about love and freedom, and we can’t wait to show everyone what that is all about Saturday," Mayor Wanda Williams said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Sixty artisan vendors are expected to attend the celebration, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A variety of live music performances will be held, ranging from hip-hop to jazz. 

"The City of Harrisburg is majority African-American," Mayor Williams went on. "We are proud to be a Black city and I am proud to be a Black mayor. We want everyone to share that pride and know that this is no place for hate. No place for racism and bigotry." 

Historical reenactors will help bring the history of the day to life, while Harrisburg-based hip hop artist Loe Badget will perform his new single, "Break the Cycle."

Dance and nutrition classes will also highlight community wellness, and numerous food trucks will participate in the event. 

Second Street in Harrisburg will remain closed between Market and Walnut Streets between 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the event. 

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