ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – A holiday honoring the history of African Americans is now upon us. Juneteenth represents a monumental holiday that takes us back to 1865 for what we call “freedom day. Slaves were free for two years without knowing.

Elmira Economic Opportunity program’s Anita Lewis mentioned this year’s Juneteenth extravaganza will be one of their biggest and best holiday celebrations. Local organizations are stepping up to bring the needed resources to the community.

“I think this day really brings the celebration of, you know, yearly diversity, you know, hopefully, equity and inclusion. We want to bring those qualities to life with our community this year, from the service providers to the resources. We’re seeing people that really need a lot of assistance and support,” said Lewis.

Lewis noted that this year looks different because of the people coming together and residents being forthcoming with their needs. Local resource organizations want to participate in the Juneteenth celebration.

The Juneteenth affair will take place this Saturday, June 18th at Ernie Davis Park from 12 noon to 4 p-m. You can expect local vendors, food, artists’ performances, exhibits, and other valuable resources for those who need them.

To kick off the Juneteenth weekend, Ernie Davis community center is hosting a free fun Friday event for kids ages 12 to 18.