Large crowds flock to Buffalo's Juneteenth, 3rd largest in world

Jun 17, 2013

Sunday's weather started out poor, but it finished well, leading to large crowds at Buffalo's annual Juneteenth Festival in Martin Luther King Park.

Buffalo's Juneteenth celebration
Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

The weather wasn't hot enough to really fill the newly-opened splash pad at MLK Park, but there was water spraying and some of the youngest members of the festival crowd were out playing.

Brand new splash pad at MLK Park
Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

Coordinator Margaret Brown says that was a well-received feature of the event.

"This was a really big crowd this year. So we were really excited. A lot of people came out, a lot of people who haven't come out in previous years were here this year, and there are just beaming reports from everybody that they enjoyed the food. They enjoyed the cultural activities and everybody just had a lot of fun. And they enjoyed the splash pad," said Brown.

Last year, the festival had to work around the construction fence surrounding the vast concrete wading pool. But it was ready this year and the fence was gone. 

Buffalo's African American Community has changed in recent years, with immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean.

Food vendor at Buffalo's Juneteenth
Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

Ike Amobi from the Nigerian Cultural Center says there are around 3,000 migrants from his old country and his stand was trying to show how food from that country is their own.

"Our food is a bit testy. It's full of spice. What we chose to do this festival is to have just three main courses...we have hot dog...and, of course, we will have plantain," Amobi.

Amobi says French fries go with the hot dogs in some one else's food stand.