A guide to Juneteenth celebrations in the Twin Cities

Juneteenth celebrations in the Twin Cities
Stefani Graddy flies a kite at Bethune Park in Minneapolis as a kids' train drives by during Juneteenth celebrations on June 19, 2021.
Nicole Neri for MPR News 2021

By Darby Ottoson | The Current

Juneteenth marks the day when, a month after the American Civil War officially ended, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. It has since grown into a national celebration of emancipation and an annual homage to Black history, community and culture.

Learn more about the 1865 origin story and significance of Juneteenth here.

Here is a guide to Juneteenth weekend in the Twin Cities:

Friday, June 17

Gateway to Juneteenth Live on Location Radio Broadcast

The Morning Show with Freddie and Chantel SinGs will be a live radio show featuring musicians, live DJs, light refreshments, various Juneteenth organizations and a live audience.

6 a.m. - 9 a.m. More Info, YMCA of the North, 1711 W. Broadway Ave., Minneapolis.

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Lessons Throughout History With Nothando Zulu 

Local storyteller Nothando Zulu takes to Zoom at 6 p.m. to speak on Juneteenth, Reconstruction, and the Nadir, all the while weaving these histories into current issues and victories. More Info, Online.

Juneteenth Story Strolls (on display all weekend)

Three Minneapolis parks have lined trails with stories to read page-by-page as you stroll along. Feel the sweet summer breeze and reflect on “Juneteenth: A Children’s Story at North Commons Park, “Family Reunion at Bottineau Park and “Soul Food Sunday” at Phelps Park all weekend long.  More InfoMultiple Locations.

Harrison Juneteenth Celebration

Harrison Park hosts an outdoor party, with music to dance to, food to eat and games to partake in from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. More Info, 503 N Irving Ave, Minneapolis.

Saturday, June 18

YMCA Juneteenth Celebration

This bash in Boyd Park features all-day entertainment from a lineup of musicians, dancers, DJs, storytellers and poets, performing from 3-7 p.m. Food trucks and St. Paul’s Bookmobile Library are also rolling in for the event. More Info, 335 Selby Avenue, St. Paul.

Juneteenth Parade and Celebration

At noon, a parade of dance, music and theatrical acts arrives at Bethune Park to join food trucks and vendors for an outdoor celebration happening until 6 p.m. The stage features a variety of performances throughout the day, including dance, drum and historical reenactments. More Info, Parade starts at 1250 West Broadway Ave., ends at 1304 10th Ave. N, Minneapolis.

Northside Juneteenth Community Celebration at Sanctuary Covenant Church 

This annual Northside celebration of community, creativity and history transforms the front lawn of Sanctuary Covenant Church into a bustling fairground from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. There’s the Kid’s Zone with face painting, a health fair, a few group fitness classes and a variety of vendors to mingle with. More Info, 710 W Broadway Ave. N, Minneapolis.

Midtown Global Market

Midtown Global Market’s celebration promises to be a lively one, with free kids crafts and back-to-back performances from storytellers, dancers and drummers. Creative Innovators, a coalition of young entrepreneurs, are also tabling the event. More Info, 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis

Sun Ray Library

Described quite simply as “a good ole time”, the Sun Ray Library will offer free food, games, crafts and photo opps throughout the afternoon. More Info, 2105 Wilson Ave., St. Paul.

University of Minnesota

The University’s inaugural Juneteenth commemoration starts with speeches at Willard Park, before marching down Penn Avenue toward the Urban Research & Outreach-Engagement Center. There, a big block party awaits and runs until 6 p.m. with scheduled speakers and performers of all sorts of disciplines. In the downtime, enjoy roller skating, free food and haircuts, collaborative mural making and more. More Info, 277 Coffey Hall, St. Paul.

AFROPUNK - Day One

Brooklyn-based AFROPUNK makes its Midwest debut over Juneteenth weekend, culminating in a riverside music festival in Northeast on Sunday. Free events and panel discussions unfold across the city on June 18, including AFROPUNK’s signature Solution Sessions, hosted at The Get Down Coffee Company in North Minneapolis. More Info, Multiple locations.

Sunday, June 19

West Broadway Block Party

This massive celebration sprawls across sections of West Broadway Avenue, from Bryant to Emerson Avenues North, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The party features good fresh food, a Father’s Day Rally, a kids carnival, giveaways, and a whole lot more to keep you busy. Dozens of Black-owned businesses also take part in this full-day festival, in part designed to facilitate community discussions around solutions to systemic socio-economic issues facing Black families today. More Info.

AFROPUNK Festival - Day Two

A mix of 16 local and national musicians — including Ari Lennox, Noname, and Miloe — put on a full-day festival in northeast Minneapolis, with food trucks, art galleries, film screenings, and more on-site. Tickets, 1300 Water St. NE, Minneapolis.

A Juneteenth Celebration at The Dakota

Minneapolis’ premier jazz club has assembled a stacked lineup for the evening of Juneteenth. The talented and dynamic Ginger Commodore co-headlines the show with esteemed actor, vocalist and community organizer T. Mychael Rambo. They are joined by a slew of other jazz and soul-inspired acts including Geoff Jones, Charmin Michelle and Dennis Spears. Tickets, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.

Soul of the Southside Juneteenth Festival

A day-long party hosted by iLLism features music, poetry, speeches, a marketplace featuring Black-owned businesses, live art by Sean Garrison, and food vendors. The events are spread across the Hook and Ladder Theater and Under the Canopy space. Performers include Blackfish Movement, iLLism, Basement Gang & Supa Juke, Kashimana, Kokou Kah, and more. 3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis. More info.