Celebrate Juneteenth At The 32nd Annual Freedom And Heritage Festival
Weber State University and the Project Success Coalition have partnered to put on the Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival this weekend.
This is the 32nd annual festival commemorating the Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. The weekend will kick off with a Juneteenth flag raising ceremony Friday morning in Salt Lake, followed by two days of the festival at the Ogden Amphitheater.
Betty Sawyer is the director of the Utah Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival. She said it’s important that Juneteenth is more than just a celebration so participants can learn something about themselves.
“A big part of everything we do has an education component, as well as the economic development component, because those things are key to uplifting our community, are key to uplifting yourselves and your family," Sawyer said. "So we make sure we incorporate that into what Juneteenth is all about.”
The theme of the festival this year is Black Joy, and the event will include performances from both national and local artists, activities for the youth, recognition of graduates and a Father’s day celebration.
“We've been through so much with the pandemic, racial unrest, several killings of blacks at the hands of law enforcement," Sawyer said. "And so we felt that this was an opportunity for us to just say, okay, we have to stop, breathe in, exhale, and just take time and make time to celebrate the good things.”
Juneteenth is personally important to Sawyer as someone who grew up in a segregated community. She said that experience helped her to learn and appreciate who she was.
“We all are a part of this human family, and so for me, Juneteenth is a reminder of that," Sawyer said. "And if we don't take the time to remember our past, to learn from our past, then we lose that connection. We lose that connection with who we really are.”
More information about the festival can be found at weber.edu/juneteenth.