Music, food, history and kids' activities will fill Perry Square.

Juneteenth, a nationwide celebration of the end of slavery, will take place in Erie's Perry Square Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.

The fifth annual event will feature free food from noon to 2 p.m., and a performance by the Breeze Band and other musicians.

The Erie County Historical Society will be on hand with displays and videos about the significance of the day, which is tacked to June 19, the day in 1865 that Union soldiers arrived at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and slaves were free, according to www.juneteenth.com/history.

President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, signed in 1863, had up to that point not changed anything in Texas, due to the small number of Union troops available to enforce the executive order. On June 19, 1865, a Union regiment strong enough to overcome the resistance arrived in Texas and the slaves there were finally freed.

Juneteenth celebrations in Erie will include an eclectic mix of vendors hawking their wares, from jewelry to health foods, as well as prepared food. Free food, bikes and book bags filled with school supplies also will be distributed, and a kid zone will feature bounce houses.

On Sunday, the Rev. Dale Snyder and guest speaker Umeme Sababu will participate in a special service at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church, 236 E. 11th St.

 

BE THERE

Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery, will fill Perry Square Saturday, noon to 6 p.m., sponsored by Booker T. Washington Center. Live music, food, historical displays, kids activities, vendors and more. Free. A special Juneteenth service will take place Sunday, 4 p.m., at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church, 236 E. 11th St. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2WoLcw2.