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story.lead_photo.caption Retired Lt. Col. Eddie Brown is shown speaking Saturday, June 17, 2017 on the progress of racial equality in the nation during the 2017 Juneteenth emancipation program at the Lincoln University Soldiers Memorial Plaza. Brown said while progress toward equality has been made, "we are not there yet." Photo by Emil Lippe / News Tribune.

Jefferson City's ninth annual Juneteenth Heritage Celebration goes into high gear Sunday with its Father's Day Awards Banquet.

Lincoln University President Jerald Jones Woolfolk will present the keynote address during a banquet at 2 p.m. in the Scruggs Student Center Ballroom, 820 Chestnut St.

Tickets for the banquet cost $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at

The celebration honors fathers and recognizes a Father of the Year, Man of the Year and Black Men in Medicine. During the event, the Missouri State Museum will provide a historical display of African-American people in medicine.

The celebration also includes a talent contest. Auditions for the "Juneteenth's Got Talent" contest are scheduled 5:30-9 p.m. Friday, 1-6 p.m. Saturday and 5:30-9 p.m. June 14 at the Boys & Girls Club of Jefferson City, 1105 Lafayette St. Organizers of the festival are "Star Searching" for talent. Those who place in auditions will proceed to the finals and compete for prizes June 16 in the "Juneteenth's Got Talent" competition at Ellis-Porter Riverside Park, 1425 Riverside Drive. First-, second- and third-place cash prizes will be awarded in two age categories — 17 and younger and 18 and older.

The celebration continues at 7 p.m. June 15, with the Little Mr. and Miss Juneteenth Pageant at Scruggs Student Center. Boys and girls ages 4-9 will compete for crowns.

Registration for a three-on-three basketball tournament begins at 7:30 a.m. June 16 at Lincoln University's Jason Gym.

A 10 a.m. June 16 ceremony kicks off the Emancipation Program at Lincoln's Soldiers Memorial Plaza. The event honors men and women who have served and are serving in the military. It will include a wreath-laying and a presentation by the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club. A motorcade to Ellis-Porter Riverside Park will follow the presentation.

The Juneteenth Heritage Festival (11 a.m. June 16 at the park) will follow. Activities are free. It will include vendors selling food and other items, exhibitors providing information on health and wellness and recruiters offering employment opportunities. Children will get to play games, jump in a bounce house, get their faces painted, participate in chalk drawing and art creations, or even win a bicycle. Winners of the Little Mr. and Miss Juneteenth are to be announced, a comedian will entertain, the Charlotte Fletcher and Soigne Band will sing and talent finalists will perform.

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