Yvonne Sanchez and her 11-year-old son, Rudy, were not deterred by yesterday’s thunderstorms. Both traveled from Eden, Wisconsin to Fond du Lac to attend the 11th Annual Juneteenth event hosted by nonprofit Ebony Vision, Inc.
Sanchez has been coming to the annual event for the past six or seven years for a specific purpose: “I want to introduce my kids to all kinds of activities to explore different lifestyles,” she said.
Sanchez was among the estimated more than 150 attendees at this year’s Fond du Lac Juneteenth that featured vendors, booths, soul food, raffles, live entertainment, and friendship. Lots of friendship, according to Ebony Vision’s President, Daisy Fraizer.
“We had some bad weather. It rained three or four times before the event began, but once the entertainment started, people were pretty impressed,” she said.
Fraizer said that while this year’s attendance was lower than in previous years because of the torrential rains, the event was still a tremendous success. Fraizer noted that the day is not only designed to be educational and celebratory, but it is also about building community. “I have seen a lot of people connect with and make friends today,” she said.
More than a dozen vendors braved the storm, including Verve, a Credit Union, who was on hand with a bag toss game with proceeds up to $200 being donated to support the work of Ebony Vision.
Vendor Kimyatta Ratliff, proprietor of $5 Stream Paparazzi Accessories, said that Juneteenth is an important annual event for her. “We know that we are not in chains anymore, but we are still fighting battles daily,” she said. “Juneteenth is a day that we can come together and recognize and learn our history. We can gather around people we have not seen and become more hopeful that change can happen, and about where we can go from here.”
Music highlights included music spun by DJ Afrekete and musicians, “Unity the Band.” Their music had people dancing in the park.
The Bread of Life Church choir also performed. Their spirit-filled rendition of gospel classic “Shabach” was a crowd favorite.