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Juneteenth celebrated across the Kansas City metro area

Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 11:09 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) --- Juneteenth festivals bring people out to community centers, parks, and areas like the Jazz District in Kansas City.

The crowd braved through the summer heat for this year’s JuneteenthKC 2022 Heritage Festival.

Mekhi Willis helped serve fun, sugary drinks inside one building filled with other vendors. She said it’s all about, “everyone coming together and being one and supporting each other.”

Sherese Sanders was enjoying the light breeze with her husband Myron on a bench.

She said, “I’m praying that it ends up like this and we need to come together more often.”

Giving all the opportunity to explore vendors showcasing their locally owned businesses.

Shalonda Howard helped showcase the vast businesses in her community.

She said, “If we spend a dollar with them, and spend a dollar with them, and spend a dollar with them it just spreads and we’re able to feed each other. That’s important especially in our community. We need to look out for each other and if we don’t look out for each other, nobody will.”

From business ventures started years ago to startups lined the block giving pitches to new investors and unique ideas to customers.

Eden Ashiofu sells his own merchandise.

“I make bowties, hand-made. I also sell durags and beard oil,” he said.

Camren Jones gave bags filled with safety materials people can use on a daily basis.

“Masks, tissue, hand wipes, soap, hand sanitizer, sucker, and my business cards,” he said.

The fun went on all day, from noon to 10 p.m., in the heat.

Regina Hyde-Johnson is visiting KC with her husband, Earnest. They stumbled upon the celebrations and weren’t showing signs of leaving any time soon in the early afternoon.

“It’s a good thing and it’s good to see people come together and just represent,” said Regina.

Earnest added he was excited to see what Kansas City is all about. The music, food, the energy. He was enthusiastic about what he was seeing Saturday.

But some feel the holiday festivities allow for education for the next generation.

“There’s a lot of things in the curriculum today that they don’t really talk about a lot so we want to be here. This is a day of celebration for the entire country,” Murad Bahbyadeen with Men and Ladies of Vision and Empowerment (Move-Love) said, “We all are created equal and no matter what celebration that we have throughout the country, throughout the whole entire year, let’s all of us celebrate that.”

Multiple community members said it grows by the year. The popularity, and importance of coming together, will only continue to bring more people out to areas like 18th and Vine.

“If we are safe, everybody will come out. If everyone feels safe and we can look out for each other it’ll get even bigger. There won’t be no room,” said Howard.