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Fort Smith Juneteenth event kicks off River Valley weekend celebrations

To celebrate Juneteenth, hundreds of people gathered at the Riverfront Amphitheater for a live music event.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — To celebrate Juneteenth, hundreds of people gathered at the Riverfront Amphitheater for a live music event hosted by 64.6 Downtown and the Fort Smith Round Table.

New Orleans band To Be Continued brought their music to Fort Smith Thursday night, helping the River Valley start its Juneteenth celebrations.

"Now that we're a federal holiday you have to acknowledge the occasion," said Talicia Richardson, the executive director for 64.6 Downtown.

Hundreds of people of all ages attended the concert at the Riverfront and enjoyed the live music by getting on their feet and dancing in jubilation. 

"By us bringing in that style of music in our community, we hope to get the community out of their seat...in a jubilee type of fashion, which was a term that was utilized during Juneteenth during the emancipation of jubilation," said Richardson.

Juneteenth commemorates when the last slaves found out about their freedom, years after the emancipation proclamation was signed. 

“It’s a wonderful thing to know all of us are free and equal and ready to party,” said Kelcey Thompson, an attendee.

Attendees say they're celebrating how far we have come and they're hopeful for an even brighter future.

"I think without Juneteenth, I think a lot of young people wouldn’t see the price we paid for where they are today," said an attendee. 

The Riverfront will host another event on the actual Juneteenth holiday Sunday, June 19th, starting at 5 p.m. 

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