WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) — Juneteenth ICT 2024 is gearing up for a series of events to commemorate the holiday, with activities planned from Thursday through Saturday this week.

The festivities begin with the Miss Juneteenth ICT competition on Thursday. On Friday, the festival grounds will open, followed by an evening of music at the Sounds of Juneteenth event.

The main celebration will take place on Saturday in the park, starting at 11 a.m. Festivities will kick off with a parade at 10 a.m., an hour before the park event begins.

Juneteenth, officially Juneteenth National Independence Day,  is celebrated annually on June 19 to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law a bill to make Juneteenth, or June 19, the 12th federal holiday.

“This is a day of profound weight and profound power, a day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take,” Biden said.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. One of the federal holidays, Inauguration Day, happens every four years.

For more information on the events, click here