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The Other Independence Day — Juneteenth Celebrations for You and Your Family

Written by Going Places

This blog post was updated on June 12, 2023.

For many folks across the U.S., Independence Day falls on July 4th. However, in dozens of states, more and more people are celebrating another independence day. Juneteenth remains the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, Juneteenth marks the historic day when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, announcing that the Civil War was over and that those enslaved were now finally free.

To celebrate this momentous day, many cities host celebrations that you can join in to appreciate America’s other independence day. If you’re looking for some fun and educational Juneteenth celebrations, look no further.

Juneteenth Food Festival — Brooklyn

woman in brooklyn
Brooklyn is the hub of Juneteenth activities in the greater New York City area. The borough plays host to multiple events designed to celebrate and honor Black culture. The festivities have traditionally been scattered throughout Brooklyn, including activities at Linden Park, the Weeksville Heritage Center, Prospect Park, and more. Visitors can also count on being able to catch musical performances while taking part in the celebration.

Be sure to leave room to nosh on the many food offerings at the Juneteenth Food Festival. You’ll sample traditional African American fare such as fried fish, red beans and rice, a crab boil, red velvet cake, barbecue, and more. This part of the festival also boasts a small marketplace where attendees can purchase clothes, accessories, and books.


Galveston Juneteenth Celebration


If you’re looking to celebrate Juneteenth where it began, then you have to head to Galveston, Texas. The Galveston Juneteenth Celebration spans the month of June for this beach town with several days of festivities. Visitors can expect to join festivals, picnics, African-American heritage exhibits, reenactments, and concerts. Perhaps the highlight of all the Galveston celebrations is the annual reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. The reenactment occurs in front of the official Juneteenth monument on June 19th.

Memphis Juneteenth Festival


In a lively city like Memphis, it’s no wonder that the city throws a spirited Juneteenth Urban Music Festival. The festival takes place on historic Beale Street in Downtown Memphis. Past events have included live music, food trucks, car shows, vendors, a kid zone, and plenty of other activities raising Juneteenth awareness. The Memphis Juneteenth Urban Music Festival takes place June 19th through June 21st at Robert Church Park.

You may also enjoy: Ten of the Biggest Juneteenth Celebrations in the United States!

Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo

One of the largest Juneteenth celebrations takes place in Buffalo, New York. Usually held in mid-June, the festival kicks off with a parade at Genesee and Moselle Streets. In the past, the Juneteenth Festival has included a book fair and free Underground Railroad tours among other activities. With the goal of preserving African American heritage, Buffalo’s Juneteenth Festival appropriately takes place in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

Denver’s Juneteenth Music Festival

atlanta music

While Buffalo’s Juneteenth is one of the largest, Denver’s also packs in the crowds for its Juneteenth Music Festival. The two-day event takes place in the Five Points neighborhood in Denver. The festival features live performances, art and cultural exhibitions, and food vendors. In addition, visitors can expect other activities like an art walk, a car show, and a parade.

Juneteenth Atlanta Parade & Music Festival

It’s not surprising to learn that the birthplace of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. goes all out for Juneteenth festivities. You’ll find a number of events associated with the official Juneteenth Atlanta Parade & Music Festival. The schedule varies depending on the year. However, you can expect to find book signings, concerts, lectures, and more surrounding the event.

The celebration mainly takes place in Centennial Olympic Park. Attendees will enjoy hundreds of Black-owned booths featuring a variety of goods for purchase. The televised parade features colorful and elaborate floats, dance troops, youth organizations, marching bands, and many local and national dignitaries.

There are also historical reenactments that shed light on the Black experience in the United States. This is a good time to visit the Historic Oakland Cemetery, where you’ll find the final resting place for several Black leaders, including Atlanta’s first African American mayor, Maynard Jackson. There’s something for everyone to see and do at the Juneteenth Atlanta Parade & Music Festival.


Juneteenth Freedom Fest Weekend — Detroit

Detroit’s Juneteenth Freedom Fest Weekend is the place to be in Michigan for all things Juneteenth. A large block party is the centerpiece of the weekend celebrations. Enjoy themed music, arts and crafts, food and drink, and more. The Juneteenth Jubilee Stroll gives you the opportunity to support Black-owned businesses in the city. You’ll want to leave time to view the various art installations that celebrate the contributions of Black artists to the community. The Juneteenth Freedom Fest also leans on the concurrent celebration of Father’s Day weekend to sponsor a “Cool Dad Contest.” Nominate your own dad for this fun event.

Next, head to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History to learn more about the history of Juneteenth. The museum’s exhibits include educational documentaries, musical performances, and a fun treasure hunt. Lastly, the Detroit branch of the NAACP also sponsors a commemorative walk that celebrates the freedom of Black Americans.


Are there any Juneteenth festivals that we left off our list? Tell us in the comments below!

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