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How to celebrate Juneteenth in Grand Rapids

There are a number of events happening throughout the Grand Rapids this weekend to celebrate the holiday.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Juneteenth is the annual celebration marking the end of slavery in the United States. The Emancipation Proclamation on 1863 is recognized as the end of slavery, but the holiday commemorating the freedom of African Americans was recognized only after the last slaves were told about the order more than two years later.

Juneteenth is a combination of the month and date the holiday is observed, June 19. Forty-seven states officially recognize Juneteenth as a holiday.

In Grand Rapids, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss recognized the holiday with a citywide proclamation. There are a number of events happening throughout the Grand Rapids this weekend to celebrate this holiday.

JUNE 19

Culture Freedom: A Juneteenth Festival 

  • When: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
  • Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 900 Fuller Ave. SE
  • What: This free event is hosted by the Grand Rapids African American Community Task Force. It will have food, vendors and drinks.

Grand Rapids Freedom Festival

  • When: 1-7 p.m. 
  • Where: Dickinson Buffer Park, 1635 Willard Ave SE 
  • What: Sponsored by the West Michigan Jewels of Africa and the city of Grand Rapids, this event will feature African drums and dancing. People are also encouraged to bring a notebook and pen. 

Unapologetically Black Cultural Festival 

  • When: 4 - 7 p.m.
  • Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 900 Fuller Ave. SE
  • What: Hosted by Junteenth GR, this will be a celebration of the Black community. It will include food, music and art.

Community Drive-by Parade 

  • When: 2:30 - 4 p.m.
  • Where: Through Southeast Grand Rapids, ending at Martin Luther King Jr. Park
  • What: This car parade will go through the Southeast Grand Rapids neighborhoods. Organizers are encouraging participants to decorate their cars and play Beyonce's "Formation." 

Power to the People digital celebration

What: Power to the People 616 is a campaign to celebrate Juneteenth and celebrated the Black Grand Rapids community. The digital celebration plans to promote and empower Black businesses, artists and community leaders with a 12-hour livestream featuring talks, music, and conversations. 

JUNE 20

Culture Freedom: A Juneteenth Festival 

  • When: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
  • Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 900 Fuller Ave. SE
  • What: This free event is hosted by the Grand Rapids African American Community Task Force. It will have food, vendors and drinks.

Garfield Park Juneteenth Celebration

  • When: 3 - 7 p.m.
  • Where: Garfield Park Community Gym
  • What: The Garfield Park community will be celebrating Juneteenth with games, food and spoken word.

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