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    Fourth annual Juneteenth festival planned for Saturday

    By Kitsey Burns Harrison,


    Community organization Bridge of Unity, representing the Elkin, Jonesville and surrounding areas, will host its fourth annual Juneteenth celebration on Saturday in Elkin. The festival features live music, food and craft vendors, local business sponsors and a whole-hog barbecue cook-off.

    At the 2023 event, Elkin Mayor Sam Bishop read a proclamation from the town recognizing the Juneteenth holiday and its importance in bringing communities together to celebrate the freedom of all. Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021 but has long been celebrated in Black communities in America as the final fall of slavery. Juneteenth is the recognition of June 19, 1865 when, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas finally learned of their freedom.

    Bishop said he felt like he was representing more than just Elkin at the festival as so many residents from the surrounding communities were present for the celebration.

    Sly Best, one of the Bridge of Unity founders, said the name of the group was well-chosen as that is the goal and what Saturday’s festival represents.

    “It’s overwhelming,” said Best as he looked around at the crowd during last year's festival.

    “We’re just here to merge together. We’re having fun,” Best said.

    Greg Brewer, another Bridge of Unity member and founder, said he couldn’t say enough good things about the festival.

    This year's festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. next to the Heritage and Trails Center on Standard St.

    In addition to food trucks on-site, attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase tickets to taste the barbecue prepared by the competitors. The celebration will feature SWA wrestling from 12 noon to 2 p.m. as well as include karaoke from 1 to 2 p.m. Live music performances throughout the day will include Ciera Dean, Collective Vibe and Retro Punkz.

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