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Juneteenth 2023: Here’s The Best Places For Juneteenth Events This Month

Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States to honor the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in Galveston Bay, Texas, on June 19, 1865. Nearly 200 years later, cities with large African American communities are preparing celebrations to acknowledge the day of freedom.

Here’s a list of the best places to participate in Juneteenth activities this month. 

1. Galveston, Texas

According to History, Texas was the first state in the nation to declare Juneteenth a national holiday in 1978. Since then, Galveston and the state have held different events to commemorate the day. This year, attendees can expect a weekend of events to enjoy. 

The Grand 1894 Opera House will host an emancipation celebration on June 17, with a gospel choir and an award presentation. On June 18, Galveston’s annual Juneteenth Proclamation will deliver a powerful reading highlighting the contributions of African Americans throughout history, followed by a parade and an all-day festival, Yahoo reported.

For additional events and information in the city, visit visitgalveston.com

2. New York

The Excelsior State declared Juneteenth a public holiday in 2020 for New Yorkers to commemorate the end of slavery for African Americans, according to the New York State Senate website. Many communities throughout the state plan to organize different events to celebrate the annual holiday. 

In New York City, there are events that residents or out-of-state visitors can participate in with family and friends. From Black business expos and festivals to Afrobeats parties, game nights and bar crawls, there’s an event for everyone to enjoy. 

Counties in upstate New York also plan to have their Juneteenth celebrations this month. For example, in Peterboro, a historical hamlet to the town of Smithfield in Madison County, organizers will host a three-day Freedom Festival beginning on Saturday, June 17, at 2 p.m. at the Smithfield Community Center. According to I Love NY, those who attend will enjoy excerpts from different authors and their work about freedom. 

3. Philadelphia

Philadelphia is the largest city in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with a significant African American community. According to Juneteenth Philly, the inaugural parade was in 2016, with more than 5,000 people in attendance. In the past five years, organizers were inspired to make each event better than the last. Those attending this year’s festivities can expect the parade, a festival and other events across the city. 

The celebration will kick off on June 16 with a Juneteenth “Honor the Ancestors” breakfast from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. at the Belmont Mansion. On June 18, there will be several events, including the parade, a marketplace for art and other items for purchase, a children’s event and a music festival. 

4. Atlanta

The city will host its 11th Annual Juneteenth Atlanta Parade and Music Festival at Centennial Olympic Park, where attendees can enjoy food, live music, handcraft goods and other cultural activities. Travel Noire reported the event is scheduled for June 17, and the parade will be televised for those at home. Attendees can expect a variety of creative floats, dance teams, marching bands, youth organizations and more. 

For more information about the event, visit juneteenthatl.com.

5. Chicago

Chicago will host several Juneteenth events for the city’s African American communities, from reparations conversations and a wellness 5K walk and run to block parties, festivals and youth basketball tournaments. The Windy City is prepared for everyone to enjoy events celebrating freedom, unity and equality, according to the website for The Chicago Juneteenth Planning Coalition.

Blavity is also hosting a Juneteenth celebration at Bottom Lounge on June 15. 

“Vibe out during exclusive performances, support Black-owned businesses, build your network & more!” a tweet on the Twitter page announced. Limited tickets are available. 

You can purchase tickets here.

6. Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Tulsa Juneteenth Inc. and community members will host the annual Tulsa Juneteenth Festival along the historical Greenwood Ave, the original home of Black Wall Street. 

“This festival serves as a safe space to exist in the fullest expression of yourself, as human, free and worthy of the joy of liberation. This community welcomes you to share a time of deep belonging and celebration with us,” according to the organization’s website

The events are scheduled from June 15-17, with a block party, health and wellness event, an art exhibition and more! 

7. Montgomery, Alabama

With ties to the Civil Rights Movement, Montgomery will host the 7th Annual Juneteenth Celebration at the Rosa Parks Museum on June 17. According to Yahoo, the event is free, and attendees can enjoy live music, food and a 1950s Montgomery bus on display. In addition, community members can also participate in the Manifest Liberty Gala and Global African Diaspora Heritage Day held at the Riverwalk Amphitheater.

8. Virginia

This year, several cities in Virginia will host Juneteenth celebrations for the African American community, according to Virginia.org:

  • 2nd Annual Juneteenth Freedom Day Festival, The Urban League of Hampton Roads – Portsmouth
  • Walking Tour: African-American History on the Elizabeth River Trail – Norfolk
  • Third Annual Juneteenth Celebration – Loudoun
  • Jazz: A Juneteenth Celebration at Old City Cemetery – Lynchburg 
  • Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom at Booker T. Washington National Monument – West Lake Corner

9. Washington, D.C.

Juneteenth has been an official holiday in the nation’s capital since 2004. There are plenty of ways to celebrate this year with many events across the city.

On June 17, Bread for the City and Mema’s Popups are hosting Juneteenth for the City 2023. DMV’s Juneteenth Celebration, “A Cultural Music Event,” will occur at the MGM National Hotel the following day. In addition, the Juneteenth Event: A Community Festival will be held at the ONE DC Black Workers & Wellness Center on June 19.

For more information about the events, visit juneteenthdc.org.

10. Denver

The High Mile City has recognized Juneteenth as a commemorative holiday since 2021. Since then, the city has held its annual Juneteenth Music Festival in the historic Five Points neighborhood.

According to the event’s website, this year’s parade will kick off the annual two-day event on June 17 between 26th Ave. on Williams St. to 26th Ave. on Welton St.

On June 18, award-winning singer and songwriter Musiq Soulchild will perform at the event to close the celebratory weekend.

Source: blavity