The 20th Annual Juneteenth Celebration at Virginia Avenue Park in Santa Monica will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 16.

The event will feature musical performances including rhythm and blues, gospel and samba, as well as other entertainment.

Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when the last American slaves heard the news that they were freed – more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln. The city of Santa Monica celebrates the accomplishments of African Americans at the annual event with art, music, cultural activities and dance.

The theme of this year’s event is “Progression of Slaves to a Celebration of Leadership,” said event founder LaVerne Ross.

This year’s festival is in honor of Thelma Terry, a leader that dedicated her life to the development of youth in Santa Monica and the namesake of a center at the park.

Actress Juanita Jennings of Tyler Perry’s sitcom “Meet the Browns” will host the event and former Miss Ohio and sports broadcaster Jayne Kennedy will give the keynote speech this year.

Performers at the event include Grammy Award-nominee Ray Brooks & the Blues Masters Band, the Blue Breeze Band, Kehinde Otis Johnson’s Stilt Walker Troupe, Samba Samba Dance, Tri-A Steppers Drum Line and the Lava Bai Drum Circle.

Other entertainment will include the Children’s Zone with crafts, face painting, and games. In addition, the cultural arts marketplace will offer Texas-style barbecue and other favorite foods.

Virginia Avenue Park is at 2200 Virginia Ave., Santa Monica.

Information, (310) 458-8688, or