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Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

Juneteenth Festival will use social media to celebrate in Buffalo

'Enjoy the festival, while watching on the web, but eating their fish, ribs, and fresh fruits and veggies on their own front porches or backyards.'

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Juneteenth Festival had already canceled its traditional parade and events at Martin Luther King Jr. Park back in April.

Now that the event on June 13 and 14 is drawing closer, more details have emerged as to how the virtual festival will look next month, following the coronavirus pandemic.

"We want the internet community, our sponsors, committees, and all Festival supporters to enjoy the festival, while watching on the web, but eating their fish, ribs, and fresh fruits and veggies on their own front porches or backyards,” Jennifer Strickland, a Juneteenth board member and public relations chair, said Saturday in a statement.

The online festival will be called Free and Clear; the Evolution of Juneteenth. Organizers say they will use its platforms on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, as well as Zoom and its own website.

This will be the first time in the 45-year history of the Juneteenth Festival, which began on Jefferson Avenue, will not be held outdoors.

"We don’t like to use the word 'canceled,' " Juneteenth organizer Ras Jomo Akon told 2 On Your Side in April.

Akono said at that time that organizers would attempt to hold a variety of programs online. 

“If the people can’t come to the festival this year, we are going to bring the festival to the people,” he said.

Juneteenth is only one of many summertime festivals that have felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Karys Belger

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