DENVER — Organizers of the Juneteenth Music Festival and Parade in the Five Points neighborhood expect more than 50,000 people to come out over the course of the weekend, and are working with vendors and city leaders to have crowd control and security measures in place.
Juneteenth, which celebrates the end of slavery in the United States, was officially recognized as a federal holiday last year. In April, Colorado lawmakers designated Juneteenth an official state holiday.
The main parts of the festival are taking place on and near Welton Street in Five Points between 24th and 29th Streets. Crews have put up barricades to block traffic to the area through the weekend.
RTD will also suspend operation of its L Line train for the weekend because of the closure. Passengers that rely on the train are encouraged to use Bus Route 43 as an alternate service. Normal operations for the L Line train will resume Monday, June 20.
“We want everyone who comes to get home safely,” said Norman Harris, executive director of the JMF Corporation, which is coordinating the music festival. “There are security gates which you have to go through clearance to get through. We’re doing bag checks. But we look to get folks in as quickly as possible, so it’s not too much of a disruption to them.”
Ahead of the Juneteenth Parade Saturday morning, traffic will be diverted from 26th and Downing Streets, Harris said. The parade is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, after which time traffic blockades for Downing and 26th will be removed.
In many ways, the amount of crowd control planning that is now required is a blessing. Jim “Dr. Daddio” Walker, who will be serving as Grand Marshall for the parade, says he remembers well the years that Juneteenth was not recognized and celebrated widely.
“We want everybody to understand and know what Juneteenth means,” Walker said. “Now that it has become a national holiday, we want it to have strong support. And we want it to grow and grow, and continue. To never die.”
The Juneteenth Music Festival and parade are free to the public.
Denver7 is a proud sponsor of the Juneteenth Music Festival.