Juneteenth celebrations in Williamson County

Residents across Central Texas will be celebrating Juneteenth this weekend. The day commemorates the almost 160th anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States.

In Round Rock, there’s nothing like a good-ole BBQ to bring people together.

"I like the fact that everybody comes," said Rick Atkins, director of Round Rock Parks and Recreation. "It’s not just one demographic. People come and have a great time."

At Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, the pit masters and hungry taste testers are kicking off Juneteenth weekend.

MORE: Juneteenth 2024: What’s open and closed on Wednesday for the federal holiday

"Tonight we are doing a BBQ kickback and taste, so we’ve got four or five pitmasters cooking BBQ, you buy a wristband, you go around, and you taste and then at the end, you get to vote for people’s choice," said Atkins.

The celebrations continue on Saturday, June 15, with a festival and concert at the park from 5-11 p.m.

"We build community for all," said Atkins. "Doesn’t make a difference if it’s the Fourth of July, Cinco De Mayo, Juneteenth, or Christmas. We want everybody to feel welcome in Round Rock, and we’re going to do it big."

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Just up the road, Georgetown is enjoying an event called Soul at City.

"It's just a precursor to what’s coming the next day," said Regina Durden, president of the Georgetown Cultural Citizens Memorial Association.

Juneteenth celebrations in Georgetown have been happening for more than 70 years now.

"Tradition is very important in any community, but particularly in Georgetown," said Alma Allen-Johnson, the chair of the Juneteenth committee for GCCMA. "Back in the 50s there was a huge parade, and the communities and families got together, and they sponsored and worked together to have a wonderful Juneteenth holiday."

That's what they hope this 72nd year will bring: a weekend to remember the history of Juneteenth and enjoy the company of each other.

"It is so important in this community and with us collaborating with others in Georgetown, we just know it’s going to build and be more and more successful every year," said Allen-Johnson.

The Georgetown parade will start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 15. The festival downtown runs through 4 p.m.

There's also a historical photo exhibit at the public library through the end of the month.

For a full schedule, check out the GCCMA’s website and Round Rock’s page.