ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Community members all around the St. Louis region spent their Saturday afternoon celebrating Juneteenth ahead of the federal holiday.

Saturday’s celebrations included the first annual Juneteenth parade in Jennings and a children’s event in Ferguson.

Saturday’s parade in Jennings was filled with floats, bands, dancers and guest appearances. It is the city’s first Juneteenth parade, and it’s expected to become an annual tradition.

Meanwhile, the Urban League Empowerment Center in Ferguson hosted a children’s event Saturday to mark the holiday. Activities included a bounce house, face painting, food and more.

Organizers are hopeful the events will educate more people about the importance of the Juneteenth holiday.

The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, a day on which enslaved African Americans learned of their freedom from Union soldiers. This happened two months after the Confederacy had surrendered in the Civil War and more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.