Hundreds of people showed up for the 3rd Annual Shop Black Festival

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – Sunday was the third annual Juneteenth Shop Black Festival, where more than 100 black-owned businesses set up shop for a large crowd of supporters.

For this event, the June heat didn’t stop this June 19th celebration, as a line filled up with kiosks and food queues.

“It’s so good that we can come together and live together in peace for a day,” said Reverend Billy Patton of Memphis.

“The food, the camaraderie, that music, it’s just something nice to do,” said Eboni Brown, visiting from northeast Mississippi.

“We have to give back to our community. To be able to do that at this festival is wonderful,” said EJ Presley.

For vendors, the event was an opportunity to boost sales and grow their customer base.

“It’s the show,” said Freddie Moss of Old Fashioned Way Organics, showcasing some of his barbecue sauces. “You could never see people in a bigger setting. That way I have samples that they can taste, smell, see, and actually pick up and have a great time with.

Moss also added the Father’s Day aspect and the encouraging sight of seeing families hanging out and enjoying the festival.

“My son is 23,” Moss said. “He currently lives in Houston, Texas, but he uses my product there. He called me and said Happy Father’s Day and that he loves me. It meant the world to me.”

Juneteenth may be the youngest federally recognized holiday, but people here hope it will become a more recognized tradition among everyone here and throughout the Mid-South.

“We need to continue to appreciate people and tell them about our people’s history and struggle,” Patton said.

“The holiday, a lot of people probably didn’t know about it, but within the black community, we’ve been celebrating it for years. To have it federally recognized, it’s special for everyone,” Presley said.

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Edward L. Robinett