Fathers celebrate Juneteenth at Fairground Park in north St. Louis

The “FREE-DOME Celebration” paid homage to the rich heritage, history and culture of people of African descent while also celebrating fatherhood.

ST. LOUIS — An event that intertwined the Juneteenth and Father’s Day holidays in north St. Louis brought out hundreds of Black families on Sunday.

The inaugural Saint Louis Juneteenth “FREE-DOME” Celebration presented by Saint LAAA FaB Inc. was a one-day, family-oriented event set out to pay homage to the rich heritage, history and culture of people of African descent.

Juneteenth has been celebrated in honor of the day that the last of four million slaves learned of their freedom months after the Union defeated the Confederacy in June of 1865.

Since then, African Americans have gathered on June 19th to commemorate their talents and contributions to society that their ancestors were stripped of during that period.

Food, vendors and organizations packed out Fairground Park to celebrate those strides and fatherhood.

Nate Johnson was out with his two girls checking out African American vendors, honing in on their heritage.

“It’s just so important that we support local. That we support the community and make sure that we’re reinvesting dollars in the community that’s here for us,” Johnson said.

Paulinho Smith brought his wife, two kids, and nephew, grateful to be present and share in that influence.

“You know we just want to be there. Even if you’re father wasn’t there you want to be there for your kids to give them everything that you didn’t have so we here and this event in the park on Juneteenth and Father’s Day so why not?” Smith said.

Local Artist Dail Chambers was recognized for her decade of dedication to the arts in St. Louis.

Her work has ranged from genealogy to public art projects, including planting 97 trees in North St. Louis and starting an orchard and farm with art.

“In the midst of us thinking about vacancy and about how we can get rid of and remediate vacancy, I’m looking at the life that’s already here,” Chambers said.

Saint LAAA Fab will host the Saint Louis African American Artifacts Festival and Bazaar and Taste of North St. Louis on August 20th.

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