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Pittsburgh announces details for city-sponsored Juneteenth celebration

City of Pittsburgh will hold first-ever city-sponsored Juneteenth celebration this year
City of Pittsburgh will hold first-ever city-sponsored Juneteenth celebration this year 02:33

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It's been a controversial topic in Pittsburgh and council meetings, but the city will hold its first-ever city-sponsored Juneteenth event this year.

Mayor Ed Gainey's office revealed the details on Wednesday. The one-day event named Fusion Fest will be in the heart of Downtown and show off talented people who live in Pittsburgh.

"Today is about celebrating our path forward to making sure the Juneteenth holiday receives the same long-term, sustainable support and attention as the city-sponsored Fourth of July does," Gainey said.

After lots of controversy, Pittsburgh City Council approved $125,000 to go to Bounce Marketing to organize the city's event that's now set for June 29 at the Greenwood Plan Building on Smithfield Street.

"Fusion Fest is not just an event. It is a celebration of Pittsburgh's rich Black culture and vibrant art scene. We plan to bring the best in town; art, fashion, food, music, and dance right to the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh," said Fantasy Zellars, CEO and president of Bounce Marketing.

Zellars said Bounce will hire and highlight Pittsburgh talent. She is calling on makers, creators, artists, authors, performers, designers, organizations and vendors to join.

"We'll be bringing a historical walk through Black Pittsburgh, a makers market, a spoken word author experience, interactive activities for kids, health, wellness and fitness, a stunning art gallery and all-day performances," Zellars said.

In Wednesday's council meeting, council members Theresa Kail-Smith and Anthony Coghill voted against giving funds to Bounce for the first city-sponsored Juneteenth event.

Coghill said the money should go toward the Juneteenth festival that William B. Marshall has been running for the past 11 years.

"I don't begrudge them from holding their own event or the city throwing their own event. But I feel we should redirect this money to its rightful source, that's the police foundation and B. Marshall, and this way he can concentrate on what he does best and that's planning this event," Coghill said.

Pittsburgh City Council ended up introducing legislation to provide $125,000 to the Poise Foundation for B. Marshall's Juneteenth festival, which is still happening June 14-16 in Point State Park and Market Square.

Mayor Gainey did take a moment to thank B. Marshall during the press conference on Wednesday.

"I'm proud that our city has multiple opportunities to celebrate Juneteenth because celebrating the freedom of Black people from slavery shouldn't be contained in just one event," Mayor Gainey said.

Applications for local talent who want to be a part of the city's event are open right now. Zellars said don't wait to apply because this is a quick turnaround. 

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