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Hartford kicks off celebrations in recognition of Juneteenth

Hartford is welcoming back its Juneteenth celebrations for the second year.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Next Sunday, people all across the U.S. and in Connecticut will be celebrating the recently recognized federal holiday known as Juneteenth. 

In Hartford, the celebrations begin this Saturday, June 11, with an event at Burr Mall in Hartford from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., right outside City Hall. The event will be free and open to the public. There will be live music, African drumming, storytelling, and art-making opportunities. It's a partnership between the city and the Amistad Center for Art & Culture. 

RELATED: Yes, Walmart was selling ‘Juneteenth’ ice cream and has since pulled it from shelves

Next week, Hartford's big event will be on Juneteenth itself at Bushnell Park. The event will be a full main stage of performances with craft and food vendors.

It’s the second annual Juneteenth Celebration hosted by the city and a tradition they’re hoping is long-standing. 

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“Last year, the energy was just amazing," said Karen Taylor, Hartford's director of equity and opportunity, "People were so excited to be out and about. Remember, we were also coming out of the pandemic that was happening and folks really wanted to have the opportunity to connect." 

"This is our opportunity as a city to honor and celebrate the legacy of Juneteenth. To celebrate the progress that we’ve made, to recommit ourselves to the work that we have to do," said Mayor Luke Bronin.

For years, Juneteenth has been recognized as a holiday in most states. But it got its recognition on the federal level last year, as Juneteenth National Independence Day. a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. in 1865.

RELATED: Lamont establishes Juneteenth as a state holiday in new legislation

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Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jleblanc@fox61.com Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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