PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Ahead of the Juneteenth holiday, The YANI Collective hosted a festival Saturday at John Gwynn Park to celebrate Peoria’s growing diversity.

Members of the Collective said the festival, in its second year, aims to bring people together, offering a chance to network and learn about the contributions African Americans have made to the community and the world.

The holiday, Juneteenth, honors the official day, June 19, 1865, when the last of America’s slaves recognized they were freed.

“Just having this celebration, it’s the oldest celebration, being able to celebrate it in this time in this moment is really important, especially with representation within our children,” said Chanel Hargrave-Murry, member of the YANI Collective.

The event featured over 90 business and community vendors. It also included remarks from city officials, free haircuts for kids, horseback riding, a community awards ceremony, and more.

Members said the turnout for the festival was great.

“I love to see the diversity our city has. That’s what I’m seeing today is diversity and that’s so amazing to me,” said Gregory Wilson, member of YANI Collective.

Members of the organization also said they believe this will help Peoria expand.

“Seeing this [festival] proves that great things are happening in Peoria,” said Hargrave-Murry.