PITTSBURG -- A $500 winner-take-all 3-on-3 basketball tournament, R&B singer and American Idol star LaToya London and children's arts and crafts activities are just a few of the attractions planned for this year's Juneteenth celebration.

The fourth annual local event will be held 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at City Park, located on Railroad and Civic avenues.

But in addition to enjoyment, organizers of the annual alcohol-free, family-friendly event also hope to weave in some education about its history.

"We're trying to maintain the spirit of Juneteenth, and make it for families to enjoy, but also honor its origin and essence," said Gregory Osorio, a board member of Souljahs, a Pittsburg-based community action nonprofit putting on the event.

Juneteenth was first celebrated on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, in observance of the end of slavery in the United States while promoting education and achievement in the African-American community.

Activities will include spoken word performers, gospel, jazz and blues musicians, poetry readings, a West African dance troop and scores of community resource booths.

There will also be a free produce giveaway, along with a sprint race hosted by Olympic gold medalist Eddie Hart.

The theme of this year's celebration is "Building a Healthy Community."

For more information, visit www.eastcountyjuneteenth.com.


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Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.