OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The sights and sounds of Oakland came alive Saturday around the shores of Lake Merritt, for the first day of Juneteenth celebrations.
"It's a day for Black excellence. Being out here celebrating all the Black everything that we did in life," said Lamar Jackson.
Dozens of people came out to experience the culture.
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And remember what the holiday means to them.
"Being awake, aware of who you are, where you come from," said Shequita Boatley.
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Those in attendance could eat, shop, and even partake in a little double dutch.
In preparation for the event, the city has blocked off several streets around the lake and increased security.
It comes on the back of a deadly shooting at last year's celebrations.
Something that people in attendance Saturday say shouldn't overshadow the joy of the day.
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"I feel a lot safer. Because the crowd is a little bit smaller, but it's more mellow, you know what I mean. So the bad people are weeding themselves out, and then the good people are sticking around," Boatley said.
And while the festivities are just getting started, many here say it's a good chance to make memories with friends and family.
Creating traditions for generations to come.
"It means seeing all my people coming together. Not trying to be drama packed. Changing our ways and doing better as a community. Not just for one, but for the next generation and all," Jackson said.
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