The 3rd year is the charm; the Juneteenth festival hosted by The Hunt for Foundation (Lincoln, IL)
In recent years leading up to its creation of becoming a federal/national holiday in 2021, Juneteenth carries a tremendous significance in the African-American and interlocking communities (click HERE for some background on the holiday and its history). With a growing number of observances, it's a reminder of the day's impact within and beyond the culture, including our larger society.
In Lincoln, IL, since 2020, one such community-focused organization is doing its part to celebrate and day and its "footprint", but in doing so, making a positive difference in the lives of youth, adults, and all in the area. And from June 17th-19th, given their solid range of programs and events, there's truly something for everybody.
Thanks to the efforts of the Hunt for Foundation and their leadership including Jennifer Hunt (founder of the foundation and chair for the Juneteenth festival) and Jessica Jackson (marketing director for the foundation), the weekend's festivities build upon their growing presence for outreach and service. Regarding the weekend, it starts with their fundraiser/mixer on June 17th (as part of the 3rd Friday Series) from 5:30-8:30pm (CST) in downtown Lincoln at the Square as they'll have a booth setup for patrons to purchase t-shirts, program booklets, and other related information.
The festivities continue on Saturday, June 18th, their BAPS Pageant (located at the Lincoln Elks Country Club) from 12-6pm is a celebration of youth (boys and girls) and their presence within the family and greater community. Sunday's signature day (on June 19th) opens with the parade at Scully Park at 2:15pm CST leading to the site of the actual festival, the Logan County Fairgrounds. From 3-9pm (CST), the family/community focused festivities take place followed by a fireworks display.
Once the fireworks conclude, the event transitions to an adult-themed outing from 9:30pm-12am (make sure to watch the video for our complete chat/interview):
Local celebrity host Mario Cannon, along with co-host Tiffany J (of the State Journal-Register, an affiliate of USA Today) serve as the catalysts for the day. Among the wide range of Black-owned businesses and vendors, food services, community-oriented services (including, but not limited to Autism Speaks and other health-based organizations) and other entities, there are book signings, spoken word performances, music performances (including local artist V8 Vast Change), and as an added feature, the Chicago-based celebrity nail stylist Dae Dae are among those scheduled to be a part of the event. Bloomington (IL) Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe, the first African-American to hold this government leadership position in the city's history, is serving as the keynote speaker (note the flyer for a listing of all scheduled to be in attendance).
From their Ruby Tier sponsors (which include First Presbyterian Church, La Fete Entertainment, Lincoln Memorial Hospital, the Logan County Fairgrounds, and Star Power), Pearl Tier sponsors (including BJA Financial Solutions, Dreamington Records, Faith Community Assembly of the Apostolic Faith, Kara & Kaylee's Kloset, Lincoln Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, the Logan County Department of Tourism, and Simply Elegant by Cheri), and their Sapphire Tier sponsors (which include Cafe Billiards, Democrats of Logan County, Easy Bandz Entertainment, Flossie & Delzena's, Graue Inc, Heartland Community College, Logan County Paramedics Association, ME Realty, Michelle Bauer [of Country Financial], and Team Supreme Reality), community engagement is at the core of the weekend (let alone any of their programs).
"I'm just so excited about our program (and the related work taking place", notes Ms. Hunt.
Ms. Jackson adds, "What we do is shine the light on positive Black images and change the narrative; you do see Black leadership. You do see Black culture. We are American history".
To remain connected with the foundation, make sure to follow them on Facebook (@The Hunt for Foundation) as well as Instagram and Tik-Tok (@huntforfoundation). You may also contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for updates, as well as providing financial and in-kind support (donations may be made payable to The Hunt for Foundation - POB 171 in Lincoln, IL  or on CashApp at $huntforfoundation).
There's something to be said about things coming in 3's.
As it relates to this weekend and The Hunt for Foundation, it's clearly a charm to the community and beyond.