Brooklyn to celebrate Juneteenth with festivals, workshops, and more this weekend

brooklyn public library juneteenth
Juneteenth is coming up on June 19, and Brooklyn is gearing up to celebrate.
File photo by Paul Frangipane

Local businesses and organizations will celebrate Juneteenth this weekend with workshops, live musical performances, festivals, and more.

Juneteenth, a federal holiday signed into order by President Joe Biden in 2021, recognizes the complete emancipation of enslaved Black people in America. Though the Emancipation Proclamation came into effect in 1863, all men were not free until June 19, 1865 when Union troops traveled to Galveston, Texas to announce the freedom of the last 250,000 enslaved people.

Now, communities like Brooklyn use this day to honor creative expression and identity of the African American diaspora. While the actual holiday is on June 19, the days preceding it are packed with events and celebrations. 

14th Annual Juneteenth Festival

Umoja Events will host A Kaleidoscope of Black Culture, a three day summit from June 16 through June 18. The weekend kicks off with a free virtual summit from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. followed by an awards ceremony, honoring 28 distinguished men in NY. 

Head to Linden Park on Saturday, June 17 to enjoy over 60 vendors, local talent, ethnic food, a community art project and kid friendly activities from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. 

The weekend wraps up with a grand finale concert, parade and fashion show on Sunday June 18 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. 

juneteenth market
Shop, enjoy poetry readings, and more at Culture Fest Weekend at CityPoint. File photo by Caroline Ourso

Culture Fest Weekend 

Da Spot NY, a POC owner fashion brand, and City Point BKLYN teamed up to present the Third Annual Black Creatives and Culture Fest at the Albee Square mall from Friday, Jun 16 until Sunday, June 18. 

Over the weekend you’ll get a chance to shop at a marketplace with over 50 diverse business owners selling clothes, art, accessories, food and every other good you could imagine.  

On Friday at 7 p.m., festival revelers can head to an open mic night hosted by Poetic Justice poetry night and led by Karyne Tinord of Kay de Trés. All are welcome to sign up and express their voice. 

Black to Businesses will host a business panel titled “Black Men Who Lead” on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Industry leaders will dive into discussions on the triumphs and challenges of being a POC entrepreneur. 

Bring a friend and kick back at Da Game Night hosted by Utica Plantains on Saturday from 8 p.m. until midnight. at Da Spot NYC’s store at 445 Albee Square Mall. 

Rise in Spirit: A Juneteenth Celebration

The Prospect Park Alliance is hosting a family-friendly event on Saturday, June 17 from 1 until 6 p.m at the Lefferts Historic House.

During the free event, visitors can enjoy performances from African dancers and drummers from the Asase Yaa Youth Ensemble, IET Band jazz quartet, tap dancer Joseph Webb, the St. Paul’s Baptist Church gospel choir and theatrical readings by Sharon Gordon. Culture educators with the Alliance will also provide cooking demonstrations, historic games and more. 

“I’m excited for the Prospect Park Alliance to have Juneteenth and Caribbean-American Heritage events tied to the re-opening of the Lefferts Historic House, where the Alliance’s ReImagine Lefferts Initiative is underway to engage the public around the ongoing legacies of dispossession and enslavement here in Brooklyn and beyond,” Morgan Monaco, President of the Prospect Park Alliance, said in a statement. “These events, in collaboration with our community partners Asase Yaa and I AM CARIBBEING, are a step towards establishing a place for community healing and we look forward to continued programming and thoughtful dialogue surrounding this site.”

If you miss Saturday’s presentation, you can come back to the Lefferts Historic House on Sunday at 12 p.m. to hear a DJ set and play games hosted by I AM CARIBBEING, Fun With Friends and Little Caribbean artisans.

Street Music Festival

Sistas’ Place, a live music venue at 456 Nostrand Avenue, will celebrate the Juneteenth with their Third Annual Street Celebration full of live music and vendors. 

According to an event planner with The Code Foundation, a non profit youth organization, the cultural program will have something for everyone to enjoy. 

“This year’s Juneteenth will offer surprises for all ages. It will feature original designs in a fashion show, live music, handcrafted jewelry by local artists, an array of food treats, poetry, books and children’s activities, and guest speakers sharing thoughts on matters of today,” the spokesperson said.

The street festival kicks off on June 19 from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Nostrand Avenue between Putnam and Jefferson Avenue. 

5th Avenue Celebration 

Park Slope’s 5th Avenue BID presents their inaugural open streets festival dedicated to celebrating Juneteenth. 

For the first time in its history, the BID will open 5th Avenue from Bergen Street to 8th Street in various sections from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. for Juneteenth activities.

“To mark the new Juneteenth holiday we went to three of the Avenue’s black-owned business owners and asked how they wanted to reflect on and celebrate Juneteenth,” Joanna Tallantire executive director for the PS 5th Avenue BID said. “We were pleased to help organize and fund it this year, and look forward to building on it in coming years.”

The festival will feature: 

  • Juneteenth Haitian Dance Class and Performance (Bonbon Lakay, 351 5th Avenue)
  • Juneteenth Stilt Walkers (Negril BK, 256 5th Avenue)
  • Juneteenth Kids Fun, Spoken Word and Music (BK9, 62 5th Avenue)
  • StreetLab BUILD Station Pop-Up with Legos, MagnaTiles and more from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m. (5th Avenue bet Berkeley-Lincoln)
brooklyn public library juneteenth
The Brooklyn Public Library will host a variety of events across the borough all weekend long. File photo by Paul Frangipane

Brooklyn Public Library 

Brooklyn Public Library locations look forward to commemorating Black liberation of the past, present and future during various live music performances, book discussions, and other programs. 

The Jamaica Bay location at 9727 Seaview Ave. invites kids aged five to 12 years old to decorate their own Juneteenth confetti poppers starting at 4 p.m. 

On June 19 at 1 p.m.,  head to the Shirley Chisholm Circle at Brower Park to work up a sweat under the instruction of dance instructor Azrial Wallace. Attendees will get a chance to dance and connect the expressions of traditional African dances and modern hip-hop. 

The Sunset Park location will provide a free screening of Juneteenth: Faith & Freedom, a film that explores the history of the holiday and the intersection of slavery, racism, and faith.