Juneteenth festival to be hosted in Niles

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, June 9, 2021

NILES – An event coming to Niles next week is aiming to promote education and community betterment.

A Juneteenth festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 19 at the Mount Calvary Baptist Church 601 Ferry St., Niles. The event celebrates Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, which commemorates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the U.S. Originating Texas, the holiday is now celebrated June 19 nationwide.

Local businesses and food vendors will be showcased as they continue to rebuild after their struggles with COVID-19. Food cook-offs will be performed to showcase the best in BBQ, best side and best dessert.

“You are born to help the community not just live in it,” said event organizer Ylonda Scott

Various speakers will attend the festival to help educate the black community on a wide range of topics from insurance to gun violence, Scott said.

Events for the youth are planned to occur throughout the day. Educating the youth about life and opportunities is one of the driving forces behind the festival, according to Scott. She said organizers want to give the youth a place to learn and meet people who can help better their lives in the future.

“Start with the youth because they are the youngest minds to shape,” Scott said. “We want kids to learn how to build themselves without other people telling them how to.”

The free festival is open to anyone who lives in southwest Michigan or the Michiana area.

“We are people, and we are human,” Scott said. “For us to live together we need to learn about each other.”

For more information regarding the event or vending opportunities, contact Scott at contact.ylondascott@gmail.com.