Although the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in 1863, enslaved people in places under Confederate control weren’t immediately granted their freedom. Hence, the celebration of Juneteenth, a holiday that recalls Union troops arriving in Galveston Bay, Texas on June 19, 1865, to announce that the state’s enslaved Black people were being freed by executive decree.
Here's a sampling of Juneteenth celebrations happening around the Valley, including a few taking place on Friday, June 18. Most are free, and you should check mask requirements before you go.
Vegan Block Party
A free Juneteenth edition of the Zen Nights Vegan Block Party
is happening from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 18, in downtown Mesa. Head to 1 MacDonald Drive for activities that will include cooking demonstrations, vendors, and a DJ.
The free Valley of the Sun Juneteenth Celebration happens at Eastlake Park.
Valley of the Sun Celebration
The free Valley of the Sun Juneteenth celebration
hosted by Arizona Informant will include both online sessions and in-person activities at Eastlake Park Community Center, 1549 East Jefferson Street. It’s happening from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 19. Expect live performance by school and community groups, health screenings, educational workshops, vendors, games, soul food, and more.
Hip Hop Festival
The Juneteenth Edition of the Phoenix Hip Hop Festival
is happening at Monarch Theatre, 122 Washington Street, from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 19. It’s an age-21-and-up event that includes live performances on three stages, live painting, and vendors. General admission tickets are $20. VIP packages are also available.
GenerationBlack is presenting a Juneteenth celebration
sponsored by the city of Scottsdale, which happens from 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 19. Head to McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 East Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale, for festivities that include entertainment, food, live music, a raffle, and more. Performers will include Jonathan Lavingston, Toure Masters, and more. The event is free.
A Juneteenth wine festival
featuring African American-owned and -operated wineries is happening from 3 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 19, at Mark Coronado Park, which is located in Surprise at 15850 North Bullard Avenue. The celebration includes entertainment, vendors, food trucks, and more. Tickets start at $20, and a portion of the proceeds will go to The Buffalo Soldiers of the Arizona Territory.
A free event called Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom
is happening from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 19, at Pacana Park, 19000 North Porter Road, Maricopa. The lineup includes live music, spoken word, entertainment, food, and vendors.
The Matriarchs of Washington Park
The Mesa Historical Museum will welcome Bruce Nelson for a free presentation on African-American women
who fought racism and segregation from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 19. The museum is located at 2345 North Horne in Mesa.
Throwback to a drumming performance during a previous Juneteenth celebration in Tempe.
The city of Tempe will holds its Juneteenth celebration
from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 18, at the Tempe History Museum, 809 East Southern Avenue. The free event, which will also be live-streamed on Facebook, will include community singers and performers, children’s activities, history displays, awards, proclamations, walk-up COVID-19 vaccinations, and more.
Buzzies on Central
Head to Buzzies on Central, 3602 South Central Avenue, to be part of the Juneteenth Celebration
that includes a fashion show, talent competition, paint and sip activity, vendors, a DJ, and more. The free, all-ages event happens from 2 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 19.
West Valley NAACP
The West Valley NAACP is presenting a Juneteenth Celebration
from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 19. The free event will take place at West Point High School, which is located in Avondale at 11620 West Encanto Boulevard.
Celebration of Freedom
The free Celebration of Freedom
at Folley Park, 601 East Frye Road, Chandler, happens from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 19. It’ll kick off with a 4 p.m. car caravan through downtown, but also includes food trucks, vendors, live music, and other entertainment. It’s being presented by Chandler4Change and the city of Chandler.
Bring plenty of business cards if you’re attending the Juneteenth networking event
happening from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 19, at Way L.A. Studio, 4130 North Seventh Avenue. The free event includes a pop up shop, food trucks, and more.
The Black Golfer Association is presenting a Juneteenth 4 person scramble
at Arizona Grand Golf Course, 8000 South Arizona Grand Parkway. Festivities kick off at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 19. The event is $150/person with proceeds going towards golf equipment and scholarships for underserved communities.