Despite heat, hundreds turn out for Juneteenth festival

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Despite the scorching temperatures, the 17th annual Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival kicked into high gear Friday at Douglas Park.

"It's a wonderful park," organizer Glynn Reed said. "Even though it's hot out there, you can always catch a breeze at Douglas Park."

Folks both young and old had to keep cool as they geared up for all the excitement.

"We're retired citizens, close to 80 years old, and we mostly rest and drink cool water," attendee Modessa Johnson said.

Despite the heat, attendees didn't let the heat and humidity stand in the way of a good time.

"We're keeping cool, and if you're hot, you can find shade if you're sweating," attendee Makailah Hunt added.

This year's event is a celebration of African American culture and heritage, saluting African Americans in politics from reconstruction to the present.

"Juneteenth marks the end of the slave trade in the U.S.," Reed said.

Hundreds came out to take part in the food, fun, and entertainment. There was something for everyone, even those who were trying to avoid the heat.

"I'm doing pretty good weather wise," attendee Otis Johnson said. "It's just a joy to be here with the young people."

The Juneteenth event runs through Sunday.

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.