BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) People attending the last day of Buffalo's Juneteenth Festival, didn't want it to end!
"What I'm trying to figure out is is there any way we can do this at least twice a year? That's what I'm trying to figure out! Juneteenth, Juneteenth! I love it, I love it!" said Reverend Raynard Harper who attended the event.
Organizers reported the largest crowds since the festival began in 1976. This year festival planners added a healing garden and new play area for children. But there was also a big emphasis on education. We asked people if they knew what the exact meaning of Juneteenth.
"Honestly, I don't and I heard them talk about it yesterday on the news and I actually was going to Google it, but I never did," said Ebony Hinton
Juneteenth, also known as "Freedom Day" or "Emancipation Day," is the celebration of the day slaves in Texas found out about the end of slavery in 1865. When we told Ebony Hinton, the festival took on a whole new meaning for her.
"I think our youth should know exactly what the meaning of Juneteenth is. Now that I know, it's a difference for me now," said Hinton.
"This festival is just so important because it's connected to so much history and culture in the Western New York area," said Anna Marie Sinatra, the Marketing Director for Juneteenth Buffalo.
Marcus Brown, the president of Juneteenth Buffalo and his staff, made a big push to make sure everyone knows about the history of the festival. This year's festival featured an Underground Railroad bus tour.
"We want people to come beforehand with a little bit of knowledge about what the festival is and why we celebrate and why we're here in the park so when you get here its like we're going to come to the park and we're coming to celebrate emancipation, we're coming to celebrate freedom," said Jerome Williams a Marketing Director for Juneteenth Buffalo.