Princess Anne Juneteenth 2024

The first ever peace walk down Princess Anne's Main Street as part of the Juneteenth celebration.

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - Communities across the Peninsula celebrated Juneteenth today, marking the fourth year it has been a federally observed holiday.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when the last enslaved people in the United States were declared free. The significance of this day was evident at Princess Anne's Juneteenth event, which featured vendors, an abundance of food, and the first-ever march down Main Street.

"It's a day of freedom, a day of celebration, a day that we all come together as a community to really celebrate what Juneteenth means to us," said Tomasha Blount, an event co-sponsor.

Shelley Johnson noted that Princess Anne's Juneteenth celebrations began during the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 and have grown since.

"It started with a peace walk that we did with Mr. Floyd. And from there we continued with the Juneteenth in the park. And we have done the Juneteenth in the park for the last three years, so this year we brought it to the streets," Johnson said.

Yusuf Hakeem, a local business owner, emphasized the positive impact of the event on the community.

"It's been beneficial to the community because it brings a togetherness. A lot of people gather up here, they come by, but they don't come up here with foot traffic. It's usually real dead downtown until they do events like this," Hakeem explained.

Holly Cotton, who grew up in Princess Anne, expressed her happiness at seeing more community events.

"Growing up in Princess Anne, we had a couple of parades like the Thanksgiving parade and Christmas parade, but the community did not really come together to celebrate different holidays, especially holidays that cater to people of color. For us, I feel like this is a big deal," Cotton said.

The ever-growing Juneteenth celebration in the heart of Princess Anne was sponsored by the town, Princess Anne Main Street, and the Somerset County NAACP. The event started at noon and wrapped up around 5 p.m.