KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- It's the largest celebration of black history and culture in Kansas City and usually there's a large parade, but this weekend's  Juneteenth may look a little different.

Because of crowd restrictions, the day commemorating the official end of slavery in the United States is going virtual during the COVID-19 crisis. However, there may be more widespread interest than ever.

Juneteenth celebrations have grown year after year, but for Makeda Peterson it's not just about the crowds.

“Juneteenth and our committee wants to provide a community resource,” she said.

Over the past few weeks, she's watched online traffic flock to the Juneteenth KC webpage. She believes people want to learn more.

“Everyone's enthusiastic about Juneteenth,” she said. “Everyone is curious about supporting Black Lives Matter or finding their place in how to do that. Our place is in providing resources and education.”

The event is starting a food drive this year for families suffering during the COVID-19 crisis.

“To add the pantry to it, it'll be a full wraparound service to provide for the families' needs,” said Jessica Bentley Johnson with Urban Community Connections.

Much of the event is going virtual, featuring online exhibitions and speakers. Peterson also developed a scavenger hunt of local landmarks to encourage people to learn about historic sites like the Sarah Rector House, the Buck O'Neal Community Center, and The American Jazz Museum.

“I even knew some sites in KC had become forgotten,” said Peterson.

The scavenger hunt gives you clues about local landmarks like the Charlie Parker statue. Once you figure it out, you can visit in person to explore.

“It's something to get people out and moving around to learn about history,” said Peterson. “Kansas City has an amazing history when it comes to African Americans.

This year, KC will celebrate a little differently, but the celebration will keep growing.

“There are ways you can still support your community and make an impact,” Peterson said.

Related links: 

JuneteenthKC's homepage

JuneteenthKC on Facebook

Details about the scavenger hunt

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