Juneteenth returns June 17 to Bolingbrook

On June 17 the annual Juneteenth Community Festival is again coming to the Performing Arts Center, 375 W Briarcliff Road in Bolingbrook from noon-10 p.m.

The festival, founded in 2015 by Lawrence Cooper, co-owner of Coop’s Den in Bolingbrook, offers a day-long, entertainment-filled, family-friendly event to area residents.

Juneteenth itself is the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States.

“The theme of any Juneteenth celebration is ‘coming together’ . . . moving past the things that happened during slavery,” said Cooper. “This festival is about being one community.

“Last year 3,000 people came out and everyone was singing to the music, dancing and having a great time,” Cooper said. “It was so indicative of this great, diverse community that I live in.”

Music is the order of the day with seven bands performing several styles of music including blues, hip-hop, R&B, jazz, pop and soul.

Activities offer something for all ages from the kids’ area with limbo contest, sack race, face painting and T.J The Clown (to name a few) to the Senior Tent/Cooling Station with pokeno and bid whist.

Food vendors are selling everything from rib tips and wings to funnel cakes and popcorn.

As Juneteenth celebrations also focus on education and self-improvement, exhibitors will provide information on a variety of topics and interests from blood drives to veterans’ health to travel to unclaimed property.

“We’ve had a great two years so I’m hopeful we can keep the celebration coming for decades to come,” said Cooper.

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