Bills Foundation, Sabres Foundation + PSE collaborate to support Buffalo's Juneteenth celebration

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Buffalo is home to one of the nation's largest Juneteenth celebrations.

The Bills and Sabres Foundations and Pegula Sports and Entertainment have made efforts to transform one of the newer installations at the festival.

The Agricultural Pavilion was introduced at the Juneteenth Celebration in 2019 and it's a space that provides hands-on educational presentations and resources related to current practices and careers in agriculture. The pavilion was set up to also provide access to information regarding food access and connect pavilion visitors with people doing agricultural-related work in the community. The pavilion will be open from 11 am and 3 pm and both Saturday, June 18, and Sunday, June 19.

Together the Bills and Sabres Foundations donated a combined $6,000 to support the Agricultural Pavilion. The funds helped purchase pots, planters, informational pamphlets, materials for different activity stations, Garden-in-a-Bag items, large banners and signage that is intended for yearly re-use, and much more.

It was important for the PSE staff that the banners and signage be detailed, colorful, and draw people to the space.

"We were looking to showcase a little bit of everything," PSE Graphic Designer Chelsea Kowalik said. "This is for the agricultural pavilion at the Juneteenth Festival. We focused on how to get visibility there, and how to have people walk away and be educated and informed. And most importantly feel good about the space they're in and feel like it's a really celebratory space for the black agricultural community and the Buffalo community.

"It was hand drawn by me because I really wanted it to have an earthy feel. When you're in agriculture and gardening, you're in the dirt, and your hands are getting dirty. I wanted the logo to feel like it was drawn by hand and not just this digital piece of art that someone created and didn't really spend time creating."

Two of the big activities at the Agricultural Pavilion are the Seedling Giveaway and the Garden-in-a-Bag. The Seedling Giveaway has been an integral part of the Agricultural Pavilion since it launched. Families receive food to grow at home and access to resources for plant care, nutrition, and preparation ideas. The Garden-in-a-Bag is a way for attendees to leave with bags filled with valuable information and the resources for them to start their own garden at home.

Jamie Swygert has been the Chair of the Agricultural Pavilion since 2019 and is the reason that the pavilion is a part of the Juneteenth celebrations. Her focus is to make sure that the importance of agriculture in the community isn't limited to one weekend.

"We believe in Juneteenth 365," Swygert said on Facebook. "We're working on initiatives, activities, and resources, things that we can do all year round. Information that we can distribute all year round. Ways that we can help folks all year round. And we're just hoping that you come out and have a good time."

Kowalik felt a responsibility to use the resources she had at PSE to help out Swygert, and the Agricultural Pavilion to make sure the artwork and information came across cleanly and fit the theme for the festival.

"I'm here to create," Kowalik said. "It's important because I know Jamie (Swygert) has a full-time job and she works very hard. She doesn't have time to find artwork, find people to design the artwork for this, find artists and get creatives to walk them through it.

"Having this professional staff that we have at PSE, we're already 10 steps ahead. We know printers, we know production people to get the bags designed. We have great connections and we can use those connections to help this Juneteenth event which obviously means so much to the Buffalo community."

For more information about the 47th consecutive Juneteenth Festival, click here.

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