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Here are 13 Juneteenth celebrations happening across Northeast Ohio

MetroHealth Cleveland Juneteenth Freedom Fest courtesy of DCA.jpg
Posted at 11:21 AM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-18 13:27:02-04

CLEVELAND — Across Northeast Ohio, communities are celebrating Juneteenth, an annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States after the Civil War that has been celebrated by African Americans since the late 1880s.

President Biden signed legislation last year that made Juneteenth a federal holiday. The holiday dates back to June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in Galveston. The order let the slaves of Texas know they were free, in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth this year falls on Sunday, June 19, but some events will be taking place on Saturday.

Cuyahoga County

1. MetroHealth Cleveland Juneteenth Freedom Fest

The second annual MetroHealth Cleveland Juneteenth Freedom Fest is set to take place again in the heart of Downtown Cleveland on Saturday, June 18.

MetroHealth Cleveland Juneteenth Freedom Fest courtesy of DCA 2.jpg
MetroHealth Cleveland Juneteenth Freedom Fest.

The festival will also spotlight the rich history and spirit of Cleveland’s African American arts and culture. A vendor village will spotlight Black businesses and entrepreneurs, interactive art demonstrations, food trucks and beverage concessions, community programs and education, spoken word performances and much more.

The public can expect to see a main stage performance by Karamu House, the country’s oldest Black producing theatre that’s located right here in Cleveland. Another headline act will be announced at another date.

MetroHealth Cleveland Juneteenth Freedom Fest

When: 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, June 18.
Where: Mall C in Downtown Cleveland
More info here.

2. African Dance and Drum Festival

Join the Djapo Cultural Arts Institute for the 13th Annual Juneteenth African Dance and Drum Festival with special guest artists from Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Cuba, Brazil, the U.S., and many more.

African Dance and Drum Festival

When: Saturday, June 18, from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: The Pivot Center of Art, Dance & Expression, 2937 West 25th Street in Cleveland
More info here.

3. Juneteenth Celebration at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is bringing together a group of powerful and inspiring performers to celebrate Juneteenth. The event is free for everyone to enjoy.

Schedule of events:

  • 2:00 p.m. - 10k Movement Dance
  • 3:00 p.m. - Charity Barnes
  • 4:00 p.m. - Bucket Drum Interactive Demonstration with Rainey Institute
  • 5:00 p.m. - Jul Big Green DJ Set
  • 8:00 p.m. - Djapo Performance with The Hands of Time

When: Saturday, June 18, from 2 to 9 p.m.
Where: Rock Hall Plaza
More info here.

4. Juneteenth Makers Market at The Van Aken District

In partnership with the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, there will be over 30 vendors for a special Juneteenth celebration. There will be music and a special dance performance by Sha’Ran Studios.

When: Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: The Van Aken District, 3401 Tuttle Road in Shaker Heights

5. Juneteenth Celebration at Public Square in Cleveland

Enjoy free live music by Jul Big Green, Afi Scruggs Band and Eric Everett Jazz in the square. Stop by and sign the Freedom Wall.

When: Saturday, June 18, from Noon to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Cleveland Public Square, 50 Public Square
More info here. 

6. The Real Black Friday Father’s Day Juneteenth Celebration at Tower City

There will be a free brunch that includes comedy, a live band, DJ, and it’s hosted by Ahmad Crump from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Organizers expected over 500 dads and their families with more throughout the day.
Families who attend will have the chance to win a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando.
When: Sunday, June 19 from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Where: Tower City Center in Downtown Cleveland.

7. Juneteenth Freedom Ride

Get out your helmet and your bike and join a group of riders on a family-friendly freedom ride. Meet at the African American Cultural Gardens. Organizers said throughout the ride, you’ll learn about the contributions and achievements of African Americans.

The ride will end in Hough. The event is free but you do need to register.

When: Saturday, June 18 at 11 a.m.
Where: 916 Wheelock Road in Cleveland.
More info here.

8. Mx. Juneteenth: A Black & Queer Liberation Celebration

This family-friendly event will feature drag, vendors, live music, food and more more as the community comes together to celebrate Juneteenth.

“Mx. Juneteenth is a space for reverence, remembrance, and celebration for the Juneteenth holiday. In that, it is space that adheres a Black queer feminist politics that centers abolition, community, solidarity with all oppressed communities, and anti-bigotry. This space explicitly promotes an environment of respect, civility, and liberation that is free of harassment and police presence,” organizers said.

When: Saturday, June 18, from noon to 6 p.m.
Where: Midtown Glassworks, 4701 Perkins Avenue in Cleveland
More info here.

9. The Inaugural University Heights Juneteenth Celebration

Join the community at Walter Stinson Community Park for a Juneteenth celebration that will include performances by the All City Choir, DJ Marcus Alan Ward, local poets including Raja Belle Freeman, dancers and a concert from Forecast.

When: Sunday, June 19, from 1:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Walter Stinson Community Park, 2301 Fenwick Road in University Heights.
More info here.

Portage County

10. Juneteenth celebration in Kent

Kent State University will host a Juneteenth Jubilee featuring vendors, live performances, head wrapping demonstration, face painting, music and dancing. It will also showcase local Black-owned businesses.

When: Saturday, June 18, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Kent State University at Manchester Field (the large green space between the Kent Student Center and Eastway Center on the Kent Campus)

Summit County

11. City of Akron celebrates Juneteenth
The City of Akron will host several community events to recognize Juneteenth Independence Day

Saturday, June 18

  • Ward 5 Councilwoman Tara Mosley will host a Juneteenth Festival at Joy Park Community Center (825 Fuller St.) from 12-6 p.m. More information can be found on the Facebook page for the event here. There will also be a Ward 5 Meet and Greet on Friday, June 17 from 6-8 p.m. at the Joy Park Community Center.
  • Students With a Goal (SWAG) is hosting a Juneteenth Celebration at Summit Lake from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. featuring guest speakers Dr. Philathia Bolton and Kwame Williams. The Celebration will also include community pop-up vendors and guided lake canoeing.
  • New Generation will host a Youth Juneteenth Event at Perkins Park from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. The event includes family-friendly music and games for children of all ages, a “What is Juneteenth?” coloring contest for young children and an essay contest for older children.
  • Downtown Akron Partnership will host a Juneteenth Celebration at Lock 3 from 5-10 p.m.

    —The event starts with a ticketed dinner and community conversation from 5-6:30 p.m. Tickets are limited to 90 people and will be available to purchase for $10 each. Learn more and sign up here.

    —Music and dancing with DJ Forest “Getemgump” Webb and the Unit Band will run from 7-10 p.m. and is free and open to all.

Sunday, June 19

  • The Akron Black Coalition presents the 24th Annual Akron Juneteenth Festival. The festival kicks off at 12pm with the West Akron Parade hosted by the Buchtel Parent-Teacher Association. The parade starts at Buchtel CLC (1040 Copley Rd) and ends at Stoner/Hawkins Park (1201 S. Hawkins Ave.). The festival then continues at the park from 1-7pm and will have food, a Black business market, the Gerald R. Carter Teen Talent Show, flag football games, the West Side car show, and more!

12. Juneteenth Community Talk Back: Empowering a Community

The Summit County Historical Society of Akron will host a discussion with the theme of empowering the community through the principles of Kwanzaa.

There will be a food cooking demonstration, a special exhibition and an open house.

When: Saturday, June 18, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Where: John Brown House, 514 Diagonal Road in Akron
More info here.

Medina County

13. Juneteenth in Medina
The City of Medina will host a day of reflection at its Public Square to celebrate Juneteenth. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature a church service, entertainment, speakers, food and vendors. News 5’s Danita Harris will speak at the event from 12:30 to 1 p.m.

When: Sunday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Medina Public Square

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