While Juneteenth has long been celebrated in many Black communities, the ongoing calls for racial equity and social justice across the nation have created a heightened focus on learning and understanding the rich history of African Americans. Juneteenth presents one such occasion.
Also known as the Black Fourth of July, Independence Day, Freedom Day, and Jubilee Day, Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas learned that they were free—two years after the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863.
Below, find a listing of free (or low-cost) community Juneteenth celebrations in the Twin Cities and beyond. Let us know of more events in the comments.
4 pm via online
Want to beat the heat or avoid crowds? Gather with others online throughout the week of June 13-19. Enjoy powerful stories, performances, rhythms, and songs with Passed Presents, Journey Productions, Nothando Zulu, Auntie Beverly, WE WIN Institute, Wisdom Young, Voice of Culture, Mama Sheila’s House of Soul, Black Table Arts Co-op, and Million Artists Movement. ASL interpreters will be present for all live virtual events.
The events are sponsored by the Hennepin County Library and funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Various times @ Minneapolis Parks
After cancellations due to the pandemic in 2020, this year, the MPRB and the Juneteenth Community Board will commemorate Juneteenth with a week full of in-person and virtual activities in various parks. The event series offers author presentations featuring “Black is a Rainbow Color” by Angela Joy in Theodore Wirth Beach area, and “Juneteenth for Mazie” by Floyd Cooper at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, to a drive-in movie viewing of “42,” community panel discussions, youth performances, and more.
3-6 pm @ Zanewood Recreation Center, 7100 Zane Ave. N., Brooklyn Park
Take part in Brooklyn Park’s Juneteenth Celebration that offers scavenger hunts, DJ, game and activities, and a cookout/grill. More details will be posted on the website.
6-8:30 pm @ 3100 W. River Pkwy., Minneapolis
The community is invited to a family Juneteenth celebration at the Minnehaha Academy Upper School’s Bethlehem Amphitheater. Entertainment is from 7-8 pm and includes African storytelling by Beverly Cottman; African movement performance by Duniya Drum and Dance; Gospel music by SeVy; and Nashville Coop and Jones in Your Bones food trucks. Attendees are also welcomed to bring their own picnic dinner.
6-8 pm @ Mitchell Hamline School of Law – Main Campus, 875 Summit Ave., St. Paul
The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Mitchell Hamline School (MHSL) invites community members to join in a Juneteenth march and rally for reparations, child protection and the advancement of people’s rights.
For more, go to bit.ly/JuneteenthMarchRally
MHSL is also offering panel discussions throughout the week leading up to Juneteenth. For more info, go to bit.ly/DEIJuneteenth
11 am – 6 pm @ Western Sculpture Park 387 Marion St., St. Paul.
In celebration of Juneteenth and in partnership with the 25th Annual Peace Celebration Sweet Potato Comfort Pie, the Jubilee will feature a sweet potato pie competition, the character values live photo exhibit, FREE food, stage reading of the “Kumbayah: The Juneteenth Story,” a gift giveaway, and more.
4-6 pm @ Duluth Federal Courthouse, 515 W. 1st Street, Duluth
Join the court and the MN Chapter of the Federal Bar Association for a Juneteenth public art closing reception. This reception for the current juried installation “Justice, Civic Engagement, and Bringing the Law to Life”—is open to the public.
JUNE 19 – JUNETEENTH
10 am–3 pm @ Bethune Park, 1304 N. 10th Ave., Minneapolis
In celebration of the 156th anniversary of African American emancipation, Pimento Relief Services aims to bring everyone together for a day of Black unity, peace, and liberation.
There will be free food, music, books, and activities for the whole family, as well as the Ujamaa Black Vendors Market.
Enjoy musical performances by Lewiee Blaze and Blu Bone, and youth performance by Journey Productions of Black, Bold and Brilliant.
10 am – 4 pm @ Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins
Billed as a pop-up/ marketplace/bazaar, shoppers are invited to come out and network, commemorate and build community with over 30 Black businesses and a variety of services. A complimentary MN Black Box will be given to the first 50 registered attendees. Space is limited due to COVID-19 safety restrictions. Tickets are recommended but not required. The cost is free to $75. To register, go here.
10 am – 6 pm @ Phelps Park, 701 E. 39th Street, Minneapolis
Black Visions and CTUL’s Future Fighters are holding a Juneteenth People’s Assembly and Celebration!
From 10 am – 1 pm, organizers will host a Black space-only community conversation to explore our communities safety as it stands and to talk about problems, possible solutions, and next steps to take together. For parents and/or people with children who want to participate in the conversation, there will be supervised kids activities available for them during this time.
From 1-6 pm, everyone is encouraged to celebrate with food, a 3v3 basketball tournament, kickball games, music and dance performances, a DJ, a popular education, and a conversation circle sharing stories of freedom.
To register, go here.
11 am–4 pm @ Midtown Global Market, Lake St. E. & Chicago Ave., Minneapolis
Billed as a day of “education and informational entertainment,” Midtown Global Market will host a day of festivities that include African American storytelling; Juneteenth kids crafts; young entrepreneurs from Creative Innovators; the Dancing Divas dance troop; Chicago Steppin’ by Command Steppers; New Start Fashions fashion crawl; and new establishment Soul to Soul Smokehouse will offer Juneteenth specials.
1-3:30 pm @ North River Hills Park, 11501 19th Ave., Burnsville
The City of Burnsville is celebrating Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, with its annual community event. Attendees can enjoy author talks, poetry, crafts, entertainment by Tropics Steel Drum Band, a dance party led by line dance leader Teresa Hart-Sandifer, music by U.P.G. choir and food available for purchase from Burnsville’s locally owned Jersey Mike’s.
1-4 pm @ Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard., St. Paul
Black Lives Matter Minnesota, Communities United Against Police Brutality and other organizations are hosting this event at the Capitol to demand economic justice for Black lives in America in celebration of Juneteenth. Bring family and friends to enjoy games, music, and fun.
1-5 pm @ Allianz Field, 400 Snelling Avenue, St. Paul
The Anika Foundation, House of Refuge Outreach TC, and Ramsey County have invited community members out to Allianz Field to enjoy free food, kids’ activities, housing, and food resources, vendors, and free walk-up vaccine shots administered by Black Nurses Rock and the Cultural Wellness Center.
3-5 pm @ The Trailhead, 1221 Theodore Wirth Parkway, Minneapolis
The Juneteenth Revolutionary BlackOut Bike Ride is back! Hosted by Free Black Dirt and billed as a Black Biking experience to connect with the sacredness of life and land, this event offers an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and exercise while communing with the ancestors.
Also on hand will be goodies from local Black farmers and chefs. Participants are encouraged to bring water, snacks, and helmets.
To register for this free gathering, go here.
3-4:30 pm @ Boyd Park, 335 Selby Ave., St. Paul
The YWCA St. Paul, in partnership with Hallie Q. Brown, Walker West, and United Family Medicine, host a Juneteenth celebration full of music and entertainment. The entertainment lineup includes T. Mychael Rambo, Singer Thomasina Petrus, Violinist Emila Mettenbrink with Pianist Franco Holder, Walker West Youth Jazz Ensemble, and more. Food trucks will also be available to purchase refreshments.
4-7 pm @ Pantry Food Market, 5200 Bryant Ave. N., Minneapolis
Organized by Pantry Foods Market, this second annual, kid-friendly event gathers neighbors and community members for hot dogs, burgers, face-painting, music and more.
4-8 pm @ Apply Valley High School, 14450 Hayes Rd., Apple Valley
With Father’s Day following Juneteenth this year, event organizers are centering Black families in celebration of Juneteenth. Attendees can enjoy music, entertainment, and speakers; Black food and retail vendors; dancing; educational experiences; kid activities, and more.
2-5 pm @ Sanborn Park, 42nd Ave N. & Chowen Ave N., Robbinsdale
Robbinsdale 4 Racial Justice is inviting the community out to enjoy food, music, speakers, and children’s activities.
For more Juneteenth events or to add yours to the MSR community calendar, visit msrnewsonline.com.