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Where to celebrate Juneteenth across the Tri-State

band members play on a stage
Cincinnati Juneteenth Festival

There are a host of Juneteenth events this weekend, ahead of the official holiday on Wednesday. Some are being held for the first time this year, others have been going on for years, like Cincinnati's Juneteenth Festival, now in its 37th year.

The festival has grown since it first took place at a park in Kennedy Heights in 1988. It's now held annually in Eden Park over two days.

Chairperson Lydia Morgan says she has mixed feelings about all the separate Juneteenth activities.

"In the very beginning, I was prayerful that people would learn about Juneteenth and want to celebrate Juneteenth, but I kind of always thought that we would just have one big Juneteenth," she says. "But ... I'm happy that people are learning about it, and I'm happy that people want to celebrate it."

RELATED: Freedom Center to host Juneteenth Jubilee

The festival is Saturday and Sunday with all the usual favorites like music, performances, kids' activities, vendors, and historical reenactors.

Among other Juneteenth events around the region are a parade and celebration in Covington on Saturday; Cincinnati's Juneteenth Parade Sunday at 10 a.m.; and the Freedom Center's Juneteenth Jubilee on Wednesday. There are also events in Golf Manor, Elsmere, Newport, Northside, Norwood, Over-the-Rhine, and Wyoming.

Morgan says it feels wonderful to see the holiday gaining momentum.

"If we can start with children younger, and having them actually learning that everybody's history is important; and that we are more alike than we are different — the more we begin to understand that, we will be a healthier nation."

RELATED: This Juneteenth celebration has been going strong for 36 years

The Jubilee is meant to be like early Juneteenth festivals with food, music and community, according to the Freedom Center. It's is being held along Freedom Way from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 19.

It culminates with a march to the Ohio River banks, which thousands of enslaved people crossed to find freedom on the Underground Railroad. There also will be food trucks, music, history gallery talks, activities for all ages, and a community resource hub that's open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.