ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — People gathered at Ernie Davis Park in Elmira to celebrate Juneteenth today, marking the twenty-third year of observance in Elmira. Vendors across the Twin Tiers had set up a wide variety of food, clothing, and art displays.

One of the people at the event Jharmi “Cuba” Leach said, “Juneteenth was originally the celebration of the freedom of the people that were enslaved in Texas, the last ones to be freed. It became a national celebration over time which became a national holiday.”

Dion Brown, who was in attendance added, “A big community turnout. You get to interact with people that you don’t normally see on an everyday basis. It’s great to see so many entrepreneurs and artists and just everybody coming together and supporting each other.”

“I come out every year for Juneteenth because it’s a symbol of our freedom, and it’s my heritage,” said Barbara Shepard.