Leimert Park celebrates Juneteenth after festival is called off

Despite the cancelation of Leimert Park's Juneteenth Festival earlier this month, community members and vendors banded together to put on a celebration Wednesday. 

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in the US learned that they'd been freed.

Earlier this month, organizers of the Leimert Park Juneteenth Festival called off the event, postponing it until 2025, citing the "rising costs required to ensure a safe and compliant event." But for community members, the celebration was too important, and large crowds gathered in the historic neighborhood Wednesday, with vendors, music, interactive events and more.

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While Juneteenth has only been recognized as a federal holiday since 2021, people in Liemert Park have been celebrating the occasion for more than a century.

Thousands gathered on Wednesday for the event, with vendors coming from all over, including one from Ghana. For her, Wednesday's event is a testament to how far the community has come.

"I wish that the young people today, the African Americans today, I wish I had the opportunities 40 years ago, 20 years ago, that they have now," she said.

But ultimately, those celebrating Wednesday said the event is what the community wanted.

"Juneteenth has been celebrated here for years, and that was a bit frustrating hearing the cancelation initially," said one eventgoer. "However, the people have spoken, and it's just, the people want to come together."