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PHOENIX -- The Black Canyon chapter of the Red Cross is hosting a grand celebration in honor of World Refugee Day, which is Friday.

"Phoenix is one of the major cities in the country that settles refugees," said Red Cross spokesman Todd Tamcsin. "In fact, we've had over 60,000 refugees settle here in our state since 1978."

The Red Cross reports that over the last five years, 17,625 refugees have resettled in the state, making Arizona one of the nation's top destinations for such a move.

According to World Refugee Day event coordinators, the holiday has been celebrated annually on June 20 since 2000. The day was chosen by the United Nations General Assembly to generate awareness about protecting and preserving the rights and well-being of refugees.

This year, free festivities will be happening Saturday, June 21, at Civic Space Park (424 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix). There will be entertainment, family activities, splash pads to keep cool as well as World Cup viewing. Events begin at 10 a.m.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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