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ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) — An annual event commemorating the emancipation of those enslaved after the Civil War, Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated by communities all over the United States.

Ashland, Kentucky is one of those cities, and on Friday night, a crowd gathered at Broadway Square in the downtown area for an evening filled with good music, good food, and fun for people of all ages.

One of the organizers Audra Thomas says this is the fourth year they’ve hosted the event, and since it’s grown so much, they have to move to a new location each year.

“We went from the park to Darrell’s museum, and now it’s here in downtown, it’s the central location,” Thomas says Friday evening before the event.

June 19th commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. The holiday was first celebrated in 1865 in the aftermath of the Civil War after enslaved people were declared free under the terms of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Now, on June 19th each year, communities gather to remember the day everyone in the U.S. became free.

“We celebrate Independence Day every year, as we should, but not all of us were free at that time. We just want to represent freedom, we want to represent unity, and a community coming together to recognize that.” Thomas says regarding the importance of understanding the history behind the holiday.