By Lydia and Noel Morgan
Cincinnati’s 31st annual Juneteenth festival drew crowds to Eden Park both Saturday and Sunday. The family friendly festival, which celebrates the end of American slavery, included attractions for all ages. The festival begins at noon on Saturday with a parade of flags representing the origins and forced destinations of Africans during a slave trade that lasted for more than 300 years.
The festival continued through Saturday afternoon and evening with music (blues, jazz, R&B, African dancing), a praise dance exhibition, living history, shopping and food. Gregory Jackson and ZAPP Anthology closed the events Sunday evening in Seasongood Pavilion.
It was definitely a hot weekend–in the 90’s–but that didn’t stop folks from celebrating this a family event with fun- and history -for everyone.
The Festival kicked off with the presentation of flags of the African Diaspora, which represented the origins of captured Africans and the enslaved destinations. Music throughout Saturday afternoon included terrific Motown covers by yougu S.T.A.R.S. artists, Elevation Band, Basic Truth, Ms. Jazz, Last Boppers, Bi-Okoto, Jazz Renassiance and others. The evening closed with Greg Jackson and Zapp Anthology playing to a full capacity audience in Seasongood Pavilion.
Kids were delighted by the free horse and pony rides–compliments of Heavenward Farm and Horsemanship–face painting, balloons, and Father’s Day cards. Food was abundant throughout the festival.
The Juneteenth Father’s Day concert presented Texas vocalist Neva Ford Nations, Prodigal Sunz, the Gospel Workshop Choir, Charles Fold Singers, Dunimis Sign and Mime, and soloists Janice Napier and Renee Hill.