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Black Village RVA's Juneteenth event celebrates Black businesses: 'Last year we had over 8,000 people show up'

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Posted at 8:43 PM, Jun 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-16 21:15:58-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Black Village of RVA's 3rd annual Juneteenth Block Party Festival this Sunday features an after party at Diversity Richmond.

Darrick Hanks-Harris' towering 6-foot, 9-inch presence is as impressive as his drive for making things happen. He was inspired to start The Black Village of RVA's Juneteenth Celebration after a visit to the Richmond Black Farmer’s Market.

“We are basically a collective of Black-owned businesses,” Hanks-Harris explained.

The event, which started in 2020, expanded the following year into a block party and festival.

“We were also collecting well over 157 Black businesses," " he recalled. "We had seven hours to do it. We had eight food trucks. And then in that seven-hour span, we had well over 5,000 to show up."

Darrick Hanks-Harris
Darrick Hanks-Harris

But the growth didn’t stop there. In 2022, 175 Black-owned businesses signed up for the Juneteenth Festival, according to Hanks-Harris.

“And last year we had over 8,000 people to show up to our event... — no liquor was involved," Hanks-Harris said. "It was just Black excellence, people walking around shopping.”

More than 85 businesses have signed up this year and there will be alcoholic beverages, food and live music all day.

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Hanks-Harris is no stranger to being in the spotlight. He is known in Richmond and Lynchburg, where he now lives, as Mr. Baker. It is a profession he has been perfecting for the last 21 years.

He fine-tuned his craft in several restaurants, and in 2021 made news when one of his creations was sampled by First Lady Jill Biden at Brewer's Café.

“I had to stop, and give a little praise break a little bit then go in and I said, 'Thank you so much,'” he said.

Hanks-Harris is grateful for the recognition and wants the Juneteenth event to honor those who came before.

The Black Village of RVA's 3rd annual Juneteenth Block Party Festival is Sunday from 12–10 p.m. And there is an after party at Diversity Richmond at 1407 Sherwood Avenue in Richmond.

Click here for more info about the Black Village of RVA’s Juneteenth Block Party Festival. You can also click here to connect with MrBaker on Facebook.

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