Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration in Erie, CO

Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration in Erie, CO

The experiences I’m having by getting involved in the local community are amazing! The first farmers market I was a vendor at was in my new hometown of Erie, Colorado. During that first market, my husband ran into a woman involved with a local social activist group called Being Better Neighbors. It was formed right here in Erie, I think, as a result of the equality movement that ramped up after George Floyd’s murder last year.

This woman—sorry, I can’t remember her name—told my husband about their planned Juneteenth celebration, which was in motion well before Biden signed Juneteenth into a federal holiday in the past couple of weeks. So we decided to check it out on June 19.

Oh, boy, was it fun! The event was free admission, but they had security at the gate (no dogs, sorry, Minnie!). It was fairly small, taking place at the local baseball park near downtown Erie where the farmers market is held. But it drew quite a crowd.

When we got there, a REALLY good cover band called Soul School was rockin the place.

They played every funky thing from Prince to Bruno Mars to Diana Ross. I was so impressed that they had horns on stage!

Next up on the stage was a band called The Custom Shop. I don’t have a good pic of this group, but the lead singer could really belt it out. She did everything from John Mellencamp to Bruce to Stevie Nicks.

The most popular band that day by far was the last, of course. It’s a FANTASTIC a capella vocal band called Face. They are SO popular around here; we’d seen them three times before, or rather heard them. Couldn’t get close to the stage the other times. But here they are:

I would advise you to visit YouTube and look these guys up, especially their rendition of “Hallelujah“, a song that has been done to death and I can’t even stand but they REALLY do it justice. That YouTube video is from their concert at Red Rocks, and they’ve played around the world, too, opening for some very big names. They are that good. They do a good number of cover tunes, but they also have their own original material. Note that there isn’t a musical instrument on stage; they do all the background music with their voices. And the guy in the shiny gray shirt in the back on the right is the percussionist. I have yet to hear a better beatboxer.

Of course, there were several food trucks on the grounds:

And I don’t have a picture of the beer tent, but we also encountered a Black-owned, family-owned brewery we didn’t know about called Outworld, which is located in the nearby town of Longmont. You owe yourself to go to their website and check out the About page. We are, of course, going to check it out in person. They have a VERY dark stout beer called Black is Beautiful, which we tried. I’ve never seen or tasted a darker beer. I am partial instead to their lighter ale. I’m sure you’ll see a post about them sooner or later.

The event had a face painter for the kids, who was very good, judging from the many designs I saw on the children there. The kids could also enjoy a bouncy house.

Last but certainly not least, there were several vendors there, with shirts, hats, jewelry, and such. I bought some bracelets from a vendor called Foxy Lady Fashions.

The jewelry-maker, Dani, and her husband were so friendly! I ended up talking to them for some time. Bonus for me: they may enter the markets where I’m a vendor! Dani even made some alterations to the bracelets I bought while the concert was going on. Can’t say enough good things about this woman!

We ended up meeting a couple of the officers of Being Better Neighbors and plan to attend some of their “porchfront talks” to see if it might be something to get involved in.

It was a great outing, and the Erie Chamber and Being Better Neighbors really put on a good show. It will be an annual event, and I assume it will grow bigger and bigger. I plan to be a vendor in next year’s Juneteenth celebration, if they’ll let me.



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