Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
2:59 am EDT
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Juneteenth festivals in Lake County honor African-Americans’ freedom

African-Americans in Lake County communities will carry on a tradition this month that recognizes their freedom, education, and achievements.

Juneteenth is the oldest known American celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States and has been a tradition since the late 19th century. Leesburg and Mount Dora are among the communities staging celebrations, one a longstanding observance, the other starting to establish itself.

The West Leesburg Community Development Corporation is hosting its 15th annual Juneteenth Celebration from 11am-2pm Saturday, June 16, at Berry Park, 2121 Johns Ave. near Beecher Street. The carnival and festivities will include live entertainment, games, and food, a news release states.

“Juneteenth is a very significant holiday for many people. It is important because it changed American culture and began establishing equality of rights for freed slaves,” Leesburg Mayor Pro-Tem John Christian says in the release.

In Mount Dora, the second annual Juneteenth Festival is scheduled from 3-9pm Saturday, June 23, in the Historic Grandview Area between Grant and Florida avenues. The event is free and open to the public.

The block party will celebrate diversity and culture, and include music from E-Turn, Gospel, and Get Ready – A Motown Experience, as well as vendors, food, beer, and wine.

For more information, go to

The origin of Juneteenth can be traced to June 19, 1865, when Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger read a proclamation in Galveston, Texas, announcing the end of the Civil War and freedom for the state’s slaves, the release states. The event occurred nearly three years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the historic Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862.