Crowds gathered on the Enfield Town Green for the town’s first Juneteenth celebration.
The June 19 event was organized by the Ujima African American Alliance in conjunction with the town.
Several local businesses and organizations had vendor booths and many different performers, including stilt-walkers, drummers dancers, and Hartford Poet Laureate Frederick-Douglass Knowles II were in attendance.
“It’s an homage to the ancestors,” Knowles said of the event. “Every day we get to wake up and do so, that’s what we should be doing. Today, it’s family being recognized. For today, this beautiful day with the wind blowing, nature’s here, the universe is here, the ancestors are here... it’s peace, love, and harmony.”
“This is good. It’s our first year, and I’m glad to see everyone here,” said Ujima Chairman Chad Woodyard.
One of the performing groups, Xtreme Energy Dance Company, based in Bloomfield, was founded by Taylor Forbes, 14, a little more than a year ago.
“Events like this, to celebrate Juneteenth, are very important,” Forbes said. “We take the time to celebrate Black excellence. This was our first event since we started our dance group’s second year, and it was amazing.”
Ujima Vice President Rosalind Swift said it was a fantastic event for it’s first time. She said a “first wave” of attendees came just as the event started, and a second wave came later.
“We are so excited,” she said. “We are so appreciative for our sponsors. It was just a great, great day. We were really happy with the turnout, and there is more to come.”
For next year’s event, the planners will take feedback into account, and Swift said one thought is that they’ll provide more entertainment for children.
“People said they were surprised that it was so well-attended, and they’ll be looking for more next year,” she said. “We’ll definitely have more things for the kids, but we are very pleased with the way it turned out.”
For more information, visit Ujima African American Alliance on Facebook.