Hundreds of local vendors celebrate culture through their crafts

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MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee’s June 51 celebration drew thousands of residents to celebrate unity.

The Juneteenth Festival followed the parade inviting locals to taste and support vendors ranging from food to art.

A fresh, smoky barbecue aroma filled the streets as dozens of food vendors lit their grills. Jermaine Price, a local chef, was among the many.

“I do jerk chicken, garlic butter chicken, I have honey garlic chicken and roast corn,” exclaimed Price.

Price was inspired to season his soul food with spice blends that reflected his African roots.

“I give people a bit of my culture with my food. I try to share our culture with everyone,” Price said.

It wouldn’t be a party without treats. Along the streets, locals set up stalls selling homemade baked goods.

Tonya McCarty, owner of Ainnie’s Sweets, was thrilled to bring her desserts to the parade.

“I have caramel cakes, my German chocolate cakes, lemon pound cake…” McCarty said as he explained it to customers.

As a black-owned company, its sweets go beyond sugar, it shares recipes passed down from generation to generation.

“I come with the old school candy we had from my grandma,” McCarty said.

One company that saw an influx of customers keen to show off African heritage was Carol & Hugh.

Owner, Marjorie Hillocks-Mcfarlane is originally from Ghana. Her tent displayed bright colors and patterned children’s clothing inspired by her African roots.

“My goal is to get kids to appreciate African culture. You see a lot of adults in the prints, but you hardly see kids in the park or at school with the prints,” Marjorie said.

Each company presented something that everyone could experience and enjoy.

“It’s time to be a family today and support our own,” local Devan Smith said.
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