Central Texas celebrates Juneteenth with parade, festival and more

Austinites march in a parade planned by the city of Austin in celebration of Juneteenth. ( KXAN photo/ Kyle Kovilaritch)
Austinites march in a parade planned by the city of Austin in celebration of Juneteenth. ( KXAN photo/ Kyle Kovilaritch)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A celebration made its way through the streets of Austin Saturday morning as a marching band and more got people dancing during the annual Juneteenth parade.

“We can come out with the family and get to see us celebrate a diverse section of people of Austin,” said attendee Vennie Davis. “And it’s a beautiful occasion: Celebrating freedom!”

The annual celebration commemorates when African American slaves in Texas learned about the end of slavery on June 19, 1865 — two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth events kicked off this morning with the parade starting at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Comal Street. It was followed by a festival at the George Washington Carver Museum with live music, a video game arcade, and a water balloon battle. Visitors were also able to tour the museum’s permanent exhibit “Juneteen: A Celebration of Freedom.”

The City of Round Rock also hosted celebrations with the Rhythm and Ribs Festival that started Friday and continued Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight.

The actual Juneteenth holiday falls on Monday this year.

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