Juneteenth is right around the corner, and there is no better way to celebrate than to attend a 3-day festival happening right here in Fort Collins.

Happening June 17-19 and hosted by The Fort Collins Juneteenth Committee, this event is sure to be a great celebration.

"Tuned In to NoCo" got the chance to speak with the Director of the Black/African American Cultural Center at Colorado State University, Duan Ruff, and Retired Director of CU Boulder, Valerie Embry. These two are a part of the Fort Collins Juneteenth Committee, and Embry said they are planning something pretty special.

"We have a very exciting lineup to include people of all ages, all cultures and we are really looking forward to a fantastic event."

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From vendors to music and quilting, Ruff says they'll have something for everybody at the festival.

"All in one area you can ride a bike, do yoga and dance. Then you can listen to music from the 50s and 60s all the way on up, and you can paint and play basketball and volleyball."

And Embry says it doesn't stop there, they are going to have something for the kids too.

"Dan Treanor from Colorado Blues Society is going to give a children's harmonica workshop...So all the kids will have a commemorative harmonica to work with and do that. We will also have Saja Butler doing a presentation and performance on the banjo that originated in Africa."

June 19 is a holiday that commemorates the Emancipation Proclamation, but Embry says it's even more than that.

"It's actually celebrating the mental journey to freedom. The Emancipation Proclamation itself was not enough. It was a partial emancipation as it only pertained to those rebellious states...it was more of a tactic. Later on those states, some voluntary, some by vote, had released their slaves but then we had neo-slavery — this was depicted in the Wall Street Journal. People, black men mostly, were arrested for vagrancy and then sold into slavery by someone who actually paid their jail costs and then enslaved them to work for them, and that went on for another 80 years. So, I look at the Juneteenth commemoration as a way to make people aware of mental slavery and our collective journey to get past that."

Ruff says it's also a way to remember and understand our history so we don't repeat it.

"It's a symbolic holiday that represents freedom. It represents a change to new times and an end to some of the old ways, and hopefully we can recapture some of that and end some of the racism we still experience to this day."

For more information about the Juneteenth Celebration click here.

To listen to the full interview, check out the link below.

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