MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Set up is underway for the 29th annual Memphis Juneteenth Festival at Health Sciences Park this weekend.

President Telisa Franklin says guests can expect live entertainment, food, and fellowship.

“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration for the ending of slaves,” Franklin said.

On June 19, 1865, the last group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas was notified slavery ended – two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Since then, the day, also known as Black Independence Day, is used as a time to celebrate African American freedom, culture, and achievement.

Juneteenth was officially declared a federal holiday last year. 

“We’ve been celebrating Juneteenth right here in the city of Memphis for 29 years. I tell people we were celebrating before everybody thought it was cool but we knew it was something that everybody needed to know,” Franklin said.

This weekend, this entire park will be filled with vendors from all over the world. Franklin says while she wants people to have fun, she also wants them to be aware of the history behind the celebration.

“Everybody is working together. We’re loving and hugging each other and saying ‘Hey y’all, we are free and let’s celebrate together,” Franklin said.

The festivities are scheduled to kick off tSaturday morning at 10.

Click here for other Juneteenth festivities happening across the city of Memphis this weekend.