Juneteenth Parade – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Tippman98x
Juneteenth, referencing June 19, marks the day that Galveston, Texas saw the arrival of Union soldiers in 1865 with news that the American Civil War had ended and those who were enslaved were now free.
There were approximately 250,000 enslaved people in Texas that year alone.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally recognized commemoration of slavery’s end in the U.S., but it was not an official federal holiday until 2021. The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was signed by President Joe Biden on June 17, 2021, officially making June 19 a federal holiday.
Several cities in Central Florida are celebrating Juneteenth by hosting block parties, performances, festivals, and more. Keep reading below to find out more about the events.
Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday, June 18, at Lake Lorna Doone Park from 12-5 p.m.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, District 5 Commissioner Regina I. Hill, and District 6 Commissioner Bakari F. Burns will join the Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration, which will feature food trucks and live music.
Kissimmee Juneteenth Festival
Saturday, June 18, at Kissimmee Lakefront Park from 12-5 p.m.
The City of Kissimmee hosts this festival to celebrate African American culture, community, and unity as a commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S.
Ragtime: A Benefit Concert
Saturday and Sunday, June 18-19, at Dr. Phillips Center from 3-8 p.m.
The Central Florida Community Arts presents a performance that combines three American tales of a stifled upper-class wife, a daring young Harlem musician, and a determined Jewish immigrant. The show is described as, “Together, they confront history’s contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair, and what it means to live in America. Proceeds will go toward the CFCArts education program.”
Black Wall Street Juneteenth Block Party
Saturday, June 18, on Wall Street near Lake Eola Park from 1-10 p.m.
With over four clubs, six DJs, and up to 50 small black-owned businesses, this block party celebrates Juneteenth. All vendors range from self-care, clothing, financial expertise, and more.
Mid-Florida Juneteenth Music Festival in Apopka
Saturday, June 18, at Apopka Amphitheater from 3-9 p.m.
This festival will provide a platform that will educate the community about the history and commemoration of the Juneteenth holiday. There will be a “kids zone” to highlight child entrepreneurs, a performance by R&B singer Jacquees, a fashion show, over 30 vendors along with local artists, and a dance troupe.
General admission tickets cost $50. Most ticket options are available here.
Juneteenth in the City of Cocoa
Saturday, June 18, at 401 Riveredge Blvd. from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The City of Cocoa celebrates freedom, excellence, and legacy with guest speakers, and performances by the Emma Jewel Charter Academy step team and the Reflections band.
Juneteenth Holiday Community Festival in Daytona
Saturday, June 18, at Cypress Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
With over 100 food vendors, a pound cake contest, and interactive activity booths, proceeds from this event will go to support college scholarships for youth in the area. The event will also have educational activities, children’s games, live music, and is free to attend.
Black Theatre Girl Magic
Sunday, June 19, at Orlando Repertory Theatre and Loch Haven Park.
The “Lunch and Learn” series will teach children about Juneteenth through dramatic readings of books from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Orlando Repertory Theatre.
Right by the theatre, the “Facets of Freedom: Juneteenth Celebration” will feature cultural and musical performances, a DJ and food trucks, and an art exhibit in Loch Haven Park from 6-10 p.m.
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Born and raised in South Florida, Krystal is a recent graduate from the University of Miami with professional writing experience at the collegiate and national news outlet levels. She’s a foodie who loves all things travel, the beach, & visiting new places throughout Florida.