SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Friday marks the first eve of the first-ever, federally recognized Juneteenth holiday after legislation was signed on Thursday.

Juneteenth, a day to commemorate the ending of slavery. Scott Douglas Jenkins is the owner of When Praises Go Up LLC, a business in Springfield. He makes custom items with inspirational quotes and sayings.

“Juneteenth to me means freedom. Especially after this pandemic and what we’ve been going through, it’s just an awesome opportunity,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins and other Black-owned businesses gathered in Springfield’s Blunt Park for a vendor fair and movie night, and to celebrate Juneteenth.

“This is a healthy mental health thing, as far as Juneteenth is concerned. That people are thinking in a positive mode when it comes to people of color, so it’s a blessing to me,” Neal Boyd, owner of New Style Biz said.

For Vickie Telfaire White, owner of Diva Brilliance Boutique, another Springfield-based business, this is a celebration for the entire community.

“It makes us feel proud to be Black Americans and to just show our pride and show our love to the community and what we have to offer,” White said.

The celebration for Juneteenth will continue on Saturday, with a community jamboree in Court Square from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.