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The City of Athens celebrates 2nd Annual Juneteenth Festival

With a large turnout and a lot of enthusiasm, it's clear that Juneteenth is important to the people of Athens, Alabama and beyond.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The City of Athens celebrates its 2nd Annual Juneteenth Festival and people are pumped! 

Of course, with Juneteenth officially being signed into a federal holiday as of last year, more recognition for the holiday obviously followed.

"This is our Independence Day... And this is something that I think the whole world can start celebrating now and so we're just so grateful and thankful that we're now getting acknowledged," said Athens Resident, LaSeenia Rogers. 

With that extra acknowledgment; opportunities open for education and awareness about Juneteenth.

RELATED: Juneteenth in The Valley: What does celebrating look like?

"It's getting the people out and understanding history a little bit more. You know, it wasn't up til recently that it's [Juneteenth] been recognized because a lot of people didn't know, you know? Now it's an opportunity for them to come out and celebrate... it's been around all along, you know? Let's start a tradition to where on down the road it'll be bigger and better out here," said Athens Resident, Mario Turner.

Local business owners also saw the importance of being out in the community today, celebrating with everyone else.

"I think it really inspires our community, I am fairly young, so I want to be able to inspire- especially young kids, that if you have a dream, pursue that dream," said Owner of Lit Wicks & More, Tyesha Shoulders.

Even beyond today, Juneteenth is not over.

Another one of the benefits to Juneteenth becoming an official federal holiday is that although celebrated today... It is publicly acknowledged tomorrow... Which means government offices will be closed, and federal employees are paid to have the day off.

"Hopefully my job will let us of in the future but you know, we're getting off days and stuff... It's here and you know, we're gonna embrace it and enjoy it and like I said, we'll take it to the next level," said Turner.

RELATED: Juneteenth holiday closings

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