Whitney Coleman dances along to a performance by Known choir during a Juneteenth celebration in north Minneapolis on Friday, June 19, 2020. Credit: Evan Frost | MPR News

From a burlesque show to a historical fiction play, soulful music festivals to vibrant parades, Juneteenth events across Minnesota this year offer something for everyone to celebrate freedom.

Monday, June 19, marks the annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States following the Civil War. Known as Juneteenth, the federal holiday holds great significance for Black Americans, and serves as a powerful symbol of liberation and progress since the late 1800s.

The holiday, which was first federally recognized in 2021, marks the day a Texas general issued an order on June 19, 1865, freeing slaves in the state. The moment came two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery. 

“I want people to get the joy out of Juneteenth,” said Lee H. Jordan, Midwest and state director of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. “I’m one of those people that started going to Juneteenth celebrations just because it was one of the first truly Black spaces for me here in Minnesota. I went and I saw people that looked like me, and I smelled food that I was familiar with. So, it became this big family reunion.”

Here’s how you can celebrate Juneteenth weekend in Minnesota:

Friday, June 16, 2023

Black Burlesque Show at Capri Theater

Attend a Juneteenth Black Burlesque show presented by Tre’ Da Marc, the 2020 Noir Pageant King of Burlesque. This event can be enjoyed virtually or in person at the Capri Theater. Embracing the celebration of Black and brown bodies and identities, the show highlights a diverse array of artists from across the United States. Special guest Dax ExclamationPoint from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 will grace the stage along with the evening’s host, Foxy Tann. 

Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m.

Location: Capri Theater, 2027 West Broadway Ave., Minneapolis

Cost: Ticket prices start at $35. Buy in-person tickets here. Buy online tickets here. Use coupon code COOKOUT for $10 off in-person tickets. 

For more information: Contact organizer Tre’ Da Marc at tredamarc@gmail.com

“Kumbayah: The Juneteenth Story” play at Breck School 

Immerse yourself in the production, “Kumbayah: The Juneteenth Story,” at Breck School in Golden Valley. Written by Rose McGee, this 90-minute play explores the deliberate suppression of Black people’s freedom. Through storytelling and music, audiences are transported from a West African village in the early 1800s to a soulful north Minneapolis restaurant where a diverse group of youths and adults engage in discussions on the significance of Juneteenth. 

Suitable for ages 8 and up, this performance invites attendees to witness a powerful chapter in history.

Times: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (morning performance), 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (evening performance) 

Location: Breck School, 123 Ottawa Ave. N., Golden Valley

Cost: Free to attend but registration is required. Register here for the morning performance and here for the evening performance

For more information: Contact organizer Rose McGee at 651-772-4259 or rose@mnhum.org

Golf Tournament at Centerbrook Golf Course

Join Brooklyn Center Recreation for a Juneteenth Golf Tournament at Centerbrook Golf Course. Showcase your putting skills in contests and with a range of shotgun start times. This tournament offers flexibility to accommodate golfers’ schedules. 

Time: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Location: Centerbrook Golf Course, 5500 Lilac Dr. N., Brooklyn Center

Cost: $75, register here. 

For more information: Contact Brooklyn Center Recreation at 763-569-3300. 

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Juneteenth Parade and Festival at Bethune Park

The Minneapolis Park Board is hosting a Juneteenth parade and festival that includes food, vendors, and family activities. It will also feature live performances from musicians Jamecia Bennet, Jamela Pettiford, Obi Original, BdotCroc, and host Maya Marchelle. Artist Kenneth Caldwell will paint live at the event, and author Shayla Reaves will sign copies of her new novel, “The Echo in the Distance,” from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. 

The park board will also provide about 100 free kites for attendees donated by the Phillis Wheatley Community Center and Hennepin County. 

“We’re doing what we call the Juneteenth fly for freedom,” Jordan said. “We want people to come and create a kite with symbols and names and we want to fly those kites to represent freedom.”

Time: The parade is from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. The festival is from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Location: Bethune Park, 1304 N. 10th Ave., Minneapolis

Cost: Free

For more information: Contact organizer Lee H. Jordan at 612-860-4974 or juneteenthspeaks@gmail.com

A Family Celebration at Allianz Field 

Celebrate Juneteenth at Allianz Field in St. Paul. The event will feature the Community Griot Awards and Scholarship Awards, recognizing noteworthy contributions to the community. In addition, it will pay tribute to the 50-year legacy of hip-hop music. Families can enjoy the Kids Fun Zone, explore art and history exhibits, eat food that reflects the African diaspora, and watch live performances. 

A marketplace will include local vendors, and wellness resources and discussions on economic empowerment will also be available.

Time: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Allianz Field, 400 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul

Cost: Free

For more information: Inquire at programs@theanikafoundation.org 

Juneteenth Block Party and March at the University of Minnesota 

The University of Minnesota will host its second annual Juneteenth celebration, “The Art of Freedom,” with a march, a rose memorial, and a moment of silence. The event will also include live performances, free food, free haircuts, giveaways, art activities, interactive workshops, and rollerskating. An interactive kids zone with a bouncy house and a petting zoo are also planned.

Time: The march will occur from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., and the block party will go from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Location: University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), 2001 Plymouth Ave. N., Minneapolis

Cost: Free

For more information: Contact UROC at 612-626-UROC (8762). 

Juneteenth Festival at Centennial Park

Brooklyn Center is hosting a Juneteenth festival at Centennial Park. The family-friendly event will offer art activities, inflatables, face painting, balloon art, live performances, and city vehicles like firetrucks and police cars.  Food will be available from Nanny’s Jamaican Food, King Jawee’s BBQ, and Gramsky’s Tacos.

Time: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Location: Centennial Park, 6301 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center

Cost: Free

For more information: Contact Brooklyn Center Recreation at 763-569-3300. 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Juneteenth Brunch at Granada Theater 

The Granada Theater will host “Sunny-Side-Up: A Bacon Strip Brunch,” an event for attendees age 18 and older. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) artists from around the country will perform, including special guest Dax ExclamationPoint from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 and host Foxy Tann.

Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Doors open at 11 a.m. Show starts at noon.

Location: Granada Theater, 3022 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis

Cost: $30. Buy tickets here. 

For more information: Contact Granada Theater at 612-439-2559. 

Monday, June 19, 2023 

Juneteenth Block Party on West Broadway 

Juneteenth Minnesota will host its annual block party, featuring two stages with live entertainment and speakers, a panel discussion about gun safety and control, and a slave history exhibition. The event will showcase dozens of Black-owned businesses and vendors, along with a mini-carnival, interactive games, DIY activities, giveaways, and community resources. 

Time: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (parade kick off), 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (socio-economic justice rally), 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (festival). 

Location: West Broadway Avenue between Lyndale and Emerson avenues north. 

Cost: Free

For more information: Call 612-400-9500. 

Soul of the Southside Festival 

Celebrate Juneteenth at the Soul of the SouthSide Festival. The event will include food trucks, face painting, storytelling sessions, and dance and spoken word performances. It will also feature a Black-owned marketplace with local businesses. Live music, yoga and meditation sessions, and art exhibits will also be on hand.

Time: 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Location: The Hook and Ladder Theater and Lounge, 3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis

Cost: Free

For more information: Contact soulofthesouthsidempls@gmail.com

Myah Goff is an intern at Sahan Journal, currently pursuing a journalism degree at the University of Minnesota.