LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Sunday is Juneteenth but the Lansing community kicked off their celebration a day early with a parade, a job fair and a guest appearance from Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin.

This is the 49th year that Lansing has held a Juneteenth celebration, but this is the second year since it became a federal holiday.

Juneteenth marks the anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States, and people said today’s event helps them show their culture and community.

“We are just a part of such a beautiful and diverse community, and we’re here to celebrate that on this beautiful day,” said event goer Petra Smith.

Spectators said the city’s event is a great way to pay respects to those before them.

“We’re here and we appreciate our roots and we appreciate this date of such significance is finally being recognized on the scale that it should be,” continued Smith.

The celebration started at JW Sexton High School with a parade. The parade included a variety of community groups, as well as Congresswoman Slotkin.

For parade watchers, just seeing everyone out on the street, made the day even more special.

“It’s just good to get out and enjoy because we have been cooped up for so long. So I’m thankful that we are able to do this this year,” said event goer Rosetta Bryant.

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor was at the event and said his favorite thing about today was the people.

“You see everybody here has a smile on their face and it’s a beautiful day here in Lansing and I’m having a great time,” said Schor.

Along with the music, speeches and food there was also a job fair tent at the parade.

Mayor Schor said it was great way to show people what openings there are in Lansing.

“We want people to have the best jobs they can, to make as much money as they can, enjoy themselves,” continued Schor. “We saw one that said 20 bucks an hour, we should get our son to apply there.”

People said this event helps bring into focus what matters most in life.

“Community and culture and loving who we are is important,” said Smith.