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franklin county times

Food, music, fellowship highlight Juneteenth celebration

By Staff
FACE PAINTING Angela Hudnall, an AmeriCorps volunteer, paints Baja Robinson's face during Saturday's First Annual Juneteenth Heritage Festival in downtown Meridian. In the
background, Allishia Smith, left, watches her grandmother, Debbie Pollard, also an AmeriCorps volunteer, paint Deangelo Ford's face and Tina Moss holds Kenderius Smith. Photo by Fredie Carmichael / The Meridian Star.
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
June 22, 2003
The smell of freshly cooked barbecue filled the air and sounds of gospel and jazz music resonated through the streets of downtown Meridian Saturday as residents enjoyed the First Annual Juneteenth Heritage Festival.
Vendors lined Fifth Street, selling everything from crafts to ribs. Some took shelter in the shade while children played in the streets and gulped down multi-flavored slushies.
The sun bore down. It was hot. But the people continued to pour in to enjoy the event.
King was one of many longtime Meridian residents who enjoyed Meridian's first annual Juneteenth event the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery.
Festivities began at 11 a.m. and continued until shortly before midnight. Activities included live entertainment, food, games, informational booths, politicians and a health screening sponsored by the Greater Meridian Health Clinic.
Although the event has been celebrated in downtown Meridian the past, this marked the first year the city sponsored the celebration.
And some residents said they hope Meridian officials will decide to continue to sponsor it in the future.
While the history was an important part of Saturday's celebration, King was just happy to enjoy the music, food, weather and talk to old friends.