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Benjamin Harrison site celebrated Juneteenth with food festival

The festival featured more than 20 black-owned restaurants, vendors, and caterers.

INDIANAPOLIS — Even though Juneteenth isn’t until Sunday, the city of Indianapolis started celebrations early with an inaugural “Juneteenth Foodways Festival” at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential site.

The festival featured more than 20 black-owned restaurants, vendors, and caterers.

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“You can have free first floor tours, enjoy some music and sit out on our lawn and have some good food,” said Whitney Ball, the special events & marketing manager at Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.

It was inspired by President Harrison and his Chef Dolly Johnson, who was the first Black Chef to serve in the White House.

“He fired his French chef and hired Dolly Johnson who was a Black chef and a formally enslaved woman. She went on to have her own business after she was in the White House so in the late 1800s that was unheard of,” Ball said

To honor Johnson and her legacy, local chefs cooked up some of their favorite foods and sauces.

“This will actually be our fifth year being in business, as a small business,” said Phillip Guy, the owner of Guy’s Cooking Creation.

Guy said his business is all about creating something together as family.

“We are leaving a legacy for our children so that’s what it is all about, having family work with you, passing it down to them,” Guy said.

It’s those family traditions that will be celebrated this Juneteenth through history, food, and music.

Juneteenth is the nation’s newest federal Holiday after President Joe Biden signed a bill creating the Holiday in 2021.

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