HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Community members in Huntsville celebrated Juneteenth on Saturday with food, music, and festivities.

The Juneteenth holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. The day of remembrance was first celebrated in Texas in 1865, but celebrations now take place all over the country.

The official holiday takes place on June 19th, but the North Huntsville Business Association got celebrations started a bit early.

Director Judy Havin said it’s important to remember the history behind the holiday, and Saturday’s event exists to bring the community together.

“The celebration for the community, it’s fun, it’s food, it’s children laughing and playing, and it’s understanding also from some of our organizations who are here today to include the city of Huntsville, to talk about some of the things available to the community that maybe they didn’t know about,” Harvin said.

Harvin said the celebration is meant to be both fun and educational. The mission is to promote diversity, unity, and peace.