At least 150 people turned out for the third annual Quad City Juneteenth Homecoming held June 21-23 at various locations in Festus, organizers said.

“It went very well,” organizer Ernest Brown said. “People had a lot of good things to say. The kids had a good time.”

The Mount Zion Cemetery Group, a nonprofit organization that maintains the historical Black cemetery in Festus, sponsors the Juneteenth Homecoming.

Michael Kinder reads a scripture on June 23 during the Quad City Juneteenth Homecoming.

Michael Kinder reads a scripture on June 23 during the Quad City Juneteenth Homecoming.

It began the evening of June 21 with a meet-and-greet party at American Legion Post 253, followed by a Juneteenth dance the next night at the same location. During the day on June 23, a service and a program were held at Buren Chapel A.M.E. Church, followed by a Juneteenth picnic across the road from the church at South Adams Street Park.

“I think for the meet and greet we had about 40 attend,” Brown said. “We had about 150 at the dance. We had about 100 at the church service and at the park.

“We are happy with the event. We had a really good time.”

Brown said some of the attendees traveled long distances for the event.

“We had several people come from St. Louis. There were some that came from North Carolina,” he said.

At the picnic, free hot dogs and hamburgers were served and free games were held.

“They played some volleyball,” Brown said.

He praised Jefferson College history professor Joseph Thurman’s presentation on Juneteenth, the national holiday observed on June 19 that commemorates the date in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure all enslaved people were freed.

“He gave a really good talk,” Brown said.

A number of businesses, congregations, organizations and people donated money to help pay for the event.

Donations are still being accepted to help fund future Juneteenth celebrations. They may be mailed to P.O. Box 272, Crystal City, 63019.

“I just want to thank everybody who participated and the sponsors,” Brown said.