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Juneteenth Celebration and Festivities in Texas

Juneteenth, also known as freedom day, or emancipation day celebrated on June 19th, is a significant day in American history that marks the end of slavery in the United States. It commemorates the historical moment in 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the freedom of the last remaining enslaved African Americans.

This announcement came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which officially declared the end of slavery in the Confederate states on January 1, 1863. However, the slow spread of information significantly delayed its impact. Many enslaved Black Texans remained unaware of their freedom until General Granger’s declaration in Texas.

Observed through parades, festivals, barbecues, and educational events, Juneteenth has evolved in recent years into a vibrant holiday that honors the resilience and contributions of African Americans throughout history. On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

All of this was done thanks to the hard work of Opal Lee, the “Grandmother of Juneteenth” who spent decades campaigning for community causes and advocating for Juneteenth to be an official federal holiday. This Texas woman, born in Marshall, TX is the reason we have Juneteenth today.

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Juneteenth Celebrations

Although many states, like Texas, already recognized Juneteenth, it was only officially observed in some of them. Now, with this bill, Juneteenth has become a national holiday for all to commemorate.

More than just a day off or a historical footnote, Juneteenth has become a celebration of freedom, resilience, and community. In Texas, where it all began, Juneteenth is a time to reflect on the struggles and achievements of the past. It’s also an opportunity to look forward to a future where the promise of freedom and absolute equality of personal rights is fully realized.

Whether you’re in Galveston, the birthplace of Juneteenth, Houston, or any other city, joining in the Juneteenth festivities is a powerful way to honor this significant chapter in American history. So, gather with friends and family, enjoy some delicious barbecue, and take a moment to celebrate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.

Juneteenth in Austin

H-E-B Free First Sunday: Juneteenth

Kick-off Juneteenth celebrations in Austin with an incredible day of storytelling, crafts, and hands-on activities for the entire family! Bullock Texas State History Museum hosts H-E-B Free First Sundays every first Sunday; this June, it is all about Juneteenth.

Here, you can get creative at the Galleries at Black Studies by working on an art project and diving into the history of the Juneteenth flag to design your own. Meanwhile, your kids can enjoy a fun time at Girlstart, engaging in interactive STEM demos and hands-on activities. At 10:30 a.m., Oba William King will perform with drumming, songs, and Juneteenth stories. And don’t miss the 1:00 p.m. screening of the documentary “Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom” in the Spirit Theater.

Date: June 2, 2024, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Admission: Free

High Noon Talk: Juneteenth Rodeo

Discover the legacy of the Juneteenth non-mainstream Black Rodeos and the interesting and often untold stories of Texas with the High Noon casual lunchtime talk series at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. It’s an immersive photographic journey mostly documented by late 1970s Texan photojournalist Sarah Bird, who was passionate about this sport, tracing the history of the small-town Black rodeo experience. Best of all, the program is FREE to the public.

Date: June 5, 2024, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Admission: Free

Freedom +  Juneteenth: A Night Of Jubilation

Spend an incredible evening at the Freedom + Juneteenth celebration at Pease Park! The event promises to be a night of jubilation with a fantastic lineup of activities. The event will kick off with an inspiring panel discussion on “Curating Community in Your Own Backyard,”. It is then followed by a captivating Ballet Afrique Dance Performance.

You’ll also have a chance to engage in exciting workshops such as Sip and Paint and a Haiku Workshop. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early to secure your spot. Wrap up the night with fantastic beats from DJ Cool Cobi and Stefon Osae. There is no need to bring snacks or drinks, as delicious food from Big Mayne BBQ and Dirty South Bowl will be available.

Date: June 8, 2024, from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Admission: Free; Registration required

Central Texas Juneteenth Parade & Festival

Central Texas Juneteenth Parade & Festival is your chance to march in the biggest emancipation celebration in Historic East Austin! The festivities kick off at the corner of E Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. & Salina St., the parade makes its way down Chicon St. before ending at the corner of Chestnut Ave. and Pleasant Valley Rd.

Join in the fun with friends and family and participate in this annual Juneteenth celebration in the beautiful outdoors of Austin. The excitement of this annual celebration extends beyond the parade, culminating in a fantastic Juneteenth festival at Rosewood Park. Here, attendees can enjoy delicious food from local vendors.

Date: June 15th, 2024, from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Admission: Free

More Juneteenth Festivities in Austin

Celebrate Juneteenth in Austin with even more excitement! Click the link to discover all the festivities honoring freedom, culture, and community.

Juneteenth in DFW

2024 National Juneteenth Heritage Festival: A Sophisticated Lady Production.

Come and be a part of the JimAustinOnline’s Annual National Juneteenth Heritage Festival at Berry Street Fort Worth, where you can experience an extraordinary performance by the exceptionally talented ladies of Jazz In Pink and Tr3ple Threat! Don’t forget to bring your own beverages (BYOB) and take advantage of the free parking and valet services. Additionally, various food options will be available for you to indulge in.

Date: June 7, 2024, from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM.

Admission: $45 GA, $65 VIP

Denton’s Pre Juneteenth Market

Denton’s Pre Juneteenth Market is a vibrant and bustling event that brings together local vendors at the Dinkers parking lot. With over 20 vendors offering a diverse array of items and delicious offerings from food trucks, this market promises a fantastic experience for attendees. It’s the perfect way to kick-off the celebration of Juneteenth in Denton!

Date: June 8, 2024, from 9 AM to 1 PM.

Admission: Free

Art Tales: Finding Freedom

Step into the world of “Art Tales: Finding Freedom,” presented by Carter Artworks at Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and prepare for an unforgettable discovery journey. Immerse yourself in captivating stories, participate in interactive gallery games, and unleash your creativity with Carter Community Artist Colleen Borsh. Dive into local history with the Tarrant County Black Historical & Genealogical Society Inc., and enjoy a special performance by Maricela and Friends.

Date: June 12, 2024, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Admission: Free

2024 Juneteenth Celebration

The 2024 Juneteenth Celebration at Heritage Park in Irving is a two-day event honoring the vibrant history of the African American Community. This weekend extravaganza is completely free and perfect for the whole family. Expect electrifying live music, support local vendors and community groups, savor free food on Friday, and so much more. Bring your comfortable chairs, your dancing shoes, and the whole family for a weekend of unity at the heart of Irving!”

Dates: Friday, June 14, 2024, from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM and Saturday, June 15, 2024, from 3:30 PM to 8:00 PM.

Admission: Free

Juneteenth Picnic, Ages 50+

For all 50 years and above, head to Lakey Street Denton for a lively Juneteenth Picnic and spend an afternoon of games and socializing. Following the festivities, savor a classic BBQ sandwich from Kendricks’ BBQ, accompanied by chips and an indulgent ice cream treat. This celebration promises to be a delightful way to commemorate Juneteenth. Kindly note that a ticket is required for entry.

Date: Friday, June 14, 2024, from 11 AM to 1 PM.

Admission: $10

Dallas Cowboys Juneteenth Celebration

Be part of the third annual Dallas Cowboys Juneteenth Celebration presented by Miller Lite® House at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Immerse yourself in live performances by artists like Lady Jade, Black Caesar, and Cowboyz, and indulge in delicious foods. Explore and support various local Black-owned businesses offering unique products and services. This is an excellent opportunity to join the community in commemorating Juneteenth and supporting local Black entrepreneurs.

Date: June 15, 2024, at 3:00 PM

Admission: Free

McKinney Juneteenth Celebration

Get ready for a fantastic time at the McKinney Juneteenth Celebration, where you can immerse yourself in cultural experiences, learning opportunities, and fun for the whole family at Finch Park in McKinney. This event promises to offer an array of experiences, including browsing through vendor booths, enjoying live entertainment, exploring the kids zone, and indulging in a variety of delicious food options. It’s an event you won’t want to miss!

Date: Saturday, June 15th, 2024, from 4 PM to 9 PM.

Admission: Free

Juneteenth 4K Freedom Walk & Festival

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center Dallas celebrates 2024 Juneteenth by hosting a health and wellness 4K Walk on Saturday, June 15. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by an inspiring opening ceremony at 9:00 a.m., and the event will begin with a 4K Freedom Walk at 9:30 AM. After the walk, the party continues with a fantastic community festival featuring live entertainment, awesome vendor products, and plenty of activities for the whole family.

Date: June 15, 2024, from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM

Admission: $15 to $135

Fair Park Juneteenth Festival Of Service

Fair Park Juneteenth Festival of Service is an inspiring celebration of unity in South Dallas! You are invited to participate in this incredible free event, which starts with a day of community service in Mill City, South Dallas. The festival promises a dynamic fusion of entertainment, delicious food, family activities, and opportunities to make a positive impact through community service.

Date: June 15, 2024, from 9:00 AM to 9 PM.

Admission: Free

A statue of a cowboy with arms outstretched

Juneteenth Family Reunion Festival

The Juneteenth “Family Reunion” Festival is a joyous celebration of freedom and emancipation hosted by Unity Unlimited Inc. It’s a weekend filled with exceptional musical performances by local artists and engaging activities hosted by civic organizations. Be part of the excitement at the Community Cook-Off and indulge in floral crafting with the talented team from Fancy Florist Inc.

Children will love the vibrant Kids Zone and the chance to get their faces beautifully painted. This festival promises family-friendly entertainment, enlightening workshops, and various activities that will create lasting memories for attendees of all ages.

Date: June 15, 2024 to June 16, 2024, from 12:00 PM to 11:50 PM

Admission: $10.00 to $225.00

More Juneteenth Festivities in DFW

Are you ready to celebrate Juneteenth in Dallas and the DFW area? These are just a few of the exciting events lined up to honor this significant day in history in Dallas and the DFW area. For more information and to explore additional events, be sure to check out our full list of festivities and activities.

Juneteenth in Houston

Juneteenth Liberation Market

Head to Franklin Street in Houston to commence your Juneteenth festivities with the Juneteenth Liberation Market, presented by SOA Co. Books in partnership with CAMH. Show your support for 30 local vendors and the Black literary arts at the Museum while immersing yourself in vibrant sounds curated by DJ Womon!

You can also browse through the market and explore the beautiful artwork on display throughout the event. Admission to this event is free, but we encourage you to RSVP to secure your spot.

Date: June 13, 2024, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Admission: Free

Juneteenth at Miller

“Juneteenth: A Musical Journey Through Eras” at the Miller Outdoor Theater is an incredible event exploring Black music’s soulful evolution over two immersive evenings. From Classic R&B and Blues to Inspirational and Hip Hop, you’ll experience the rich diversity of Black musical expression.

Celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Black communities, honoring their triumphs, resilience, and contributions to society. Let music remind you of its enduring power as a force for social change and collective healing.

Date: June 14, 2024 to 15, 2024 at 8:30 PM

Admission: Free

Lake Houston’s Juneteenth Celebration

Lake Houston’s Juneteenth Celebration at Generation Park is a FREE event that pays tribute to the historic day in 1865 when General Order No. 3 was announced by Union Army Major General Gordon Grant, which liberated over 250,000 enslaved Black individuals in Texas.

This event also honors the extensive contributions of African Americans to American music, food, art, business, and culture. You can look forward to a lively market featuring local food and artisan vendors, as well as a tempting array of food trucks. Don’t forget Redemption Square restaurants will also be open for a delightful culinary experience!

Date: June 15, 2024, from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Admission: Free

More Juneteenth Festivities in Houston

Houston is gearing up for an exciting array of Juneteenth festivities, offering a diverse range of events to celebrate this momentous holiday. These are just a few highlights of the vibrant Juneteenth celebrations taking place in Houston. Click here to discover the full list of Juneteenth events in Houston.

Juneteenth in San Antonio

Black History Film Series

The Carver Community Cultural Center is presenting Black History Film Series “The League,” a powerful documentary about the Negro Baseball League. This contemporary film, presented by the San Antonio African American Community Archive & Museum, delves into the impactful journey of the Negro Baseball League and its profound societal influence. This incisive documentary, directed by Sam Pollard, uncovers the remarkable story of one of the largest Black-owned businesses in America.

Discover the inspiring legacy of the Negro Leagues, showcasing the perseverance and adaptation of its players. Admission is free, but registration is required!

Date: June 7, 2024, at 6:00 PM

Admission: Free

25th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Parade

March in the 25th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Parade on East Houston Street in San Antonio. The parade will start at Sam Houston High School, located at 4635 E Houston St., and will end at Comanche Park #2 at 2600 Rigsby Ave., San Antonio, Texas.

Date: June 15, 2024, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Admission: Free

Juneteenth Festival

The Juneteenth Festival in San Antonio has earned a reputation as a beloved gathering for family reunions and the wider community. The 2024 edition on Rigsby Avenue promises to be just as exciting as last year. Local musicians and DJs are set to provide lively entertainment with attendees dancing and celebrating throughout the night.

The festival will showcase the talented 12-Eleven Band on Saturday evening, followed by an electrifying performance by Heatwave. This free event is perfect for the entire family to enjoy together.

Date: June 15, 2024, from 11;00 AM to 11:30 PM

Admission: Free

Colorful flags hanging from a banner against a blue sky

SA Juneteenth Block Party & Fair

San Antonio Juneteenth Block Party & Fair is an annual fundraiser hosted by Dream Big Scholarship Fund Inc., all aimed at supporting the San Antonio African American Community. This event is about coming together to bridge the gap in education, health, and wealth disparity.

You can look forward to exploring local small businesses and connecting with government agencies. Learn from non-profit organizations and collaborate with community partners to deepen your community ties. There will be live performances, small business workshops, and much more to enjoy. Best of all, the event is absolutely FREE! We kindly ask that you register in advance.

Date: June 15, 2024, from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Admission: Free

Freedom

Celebrate Juneteenth 2024 with an unforgettable evening of contemporary choral music! The San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum, in collaboration with the Classical Music Institute and the San Antonio Gospel Heritage Choir, presents a spectacular lineup of performances you won’t want to miss. Experience the powerful “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed” by composer Joel Thompson, followed by a classic piece by Richard Smallwood.

You’ll also be treated to an original work by BillyRay Sheppard and V. Michael McKay, featuring the Houston Gospel Legends. To make the evening even more special, indulge in a delectable supper prepared by Tobin’s Executive Chef, Armando Lopez, and guest Chef Mona Wilson, available for just $30 with pre-performance dining and reserved seating. Grab a $10 ticket for reserved seating at 7 PM if you prefer to dive straight into the music.

Date: Thursday, June 18, 2024, from 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM

Admission: $10 to $ 30

More Juneteenth Festivities in San Antonio

Dive into delicious flavors from local food vendors, groove to the beat of live music, and embrace the rich heritage of this historic day. Explore more Juneteenth festivities in San Antonio by clicking this link.

Other Juneteenth Festivities Across Texas

Galveston

Juneteenth Scholarship Gala

The Juneteenth Scholarship Gala at The Victorian in Galveston is a glamorous night filled with delectable dining, captivating speeches, and live entertainment. Dress to the nines and dance the night away, all for a worthy cause – empowering deserving students. Your presence will make a real difference as we raise scholarship funds to support the next generation. Don’t miss this chance to contribute to a brighter future!

Date: June 14, 2024, from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Admission: $35

History of Juneteenth in Galveston with Roy Collins, III

Juneteenth in Galveston with Roy Collins, III. is your chance to learn about the fascinating history of Juneteenth in Galveston. Through a presentation by Roy Collins, you’ll gain a deep insight into how this significant day has been commemorated and celebrated over the years. As an added treat, you’ll also enjoy a captivating display of Juneteenth-related artifacts from the Galveston and Texas History Center.

Date: June 15, 2024, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Admission: Free

Juneteenth Family Fun Day at Reedy Chapel AME

Juneteenth Family Fun Day at Reedy Chapel AME Broadway Ave Galveston is an engaging and meaningful event at the birthplace of Juneteenth!

Get a glimpse into history with guided tours of Reedy Chapel AME, a national historic landmark. Your kids will love to get involved in a variety of activities catering to kids, including a bounce house, face painting, games, and prizes. Treat your taste buds to delicious offerings from food vendors and explore different merchants on-site. Groove to live DJ beats and capture fun memories in the photo booth. The day will culminate with an uplifting emancipation march.

Date: June 19, 2024, from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Admission: Free

Georgetown

Juneteenth Celebration Events | Soul At City Center

The Soul At City Center Georgetown is an upcoming Juneteenth Celebration Event that will take place at the outdoor plaza located behind 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St. Be sure to catch the live music performance by the renowned Austin band Mega’Tune. Remember to bring blankets, chairs, and snacks to make the most of the outdoor experience!

Date: June 14, 2024, from 6 PM to 8 PM.

Admission: Free

Round Rock

Juneteenth Festival Round Rock

The 18th annual Round Rock Juneteenth Festival at the beautiful Lakeview Pavilion and festival area in Old Settlers Park is an unforgettable weekend of food, music, and community!

On Friday, June 14, don’t miss out on the mouthwatering Juneteenth BBQ Taste-Off. The event continues with a free family concert on Saturday, June 15. For just $10 in cash, you can secure parking at the event. Free parking is available for those who support next year’s festival.

Date: June 14 to 15, 2024, from 5 PM to 12 AM.

Admission: $10

Tyler

Juneteenth Music Fest

The Juneteenth Music Fest at the elegant Majesty Event Center in Tyler is for adults aged 30 and up. Enjoy live music from the talented Front Cover Band and dance to tunes mixed by DJ Grady.

Date: Jun 15, 2024, from 8 PM to 1 AM.

Admission: $5 to $240.

Juneteenth in Texas: FAQs

Why is it called Juneteenth?

The name “Juneteenth” combines the words “June” and “nineteenth,” marking the significant date in 1865. On this day, federal troops under Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. Although President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in Confederate states more than two years earlier, the news had not reached Texas until Granger’s arrival.

June 19th, 1865 became a day of jubilation and has been celebrated annually as Juneteenth ever since.

In which Texas city was Juneteenth first celebrated?

Galveston, Texas, holds the honor of being the birthplace of Juneteenth. It was here that General Granger read General Order No 3, informing the last group of enslaved African Americans in the Confederacy that they were free.

The announcement started widespread celebrations as newly freed people rejoiced in their long-awaited freedom. On June 19, 1866, the freed people in Texas came together to organize what would become the inaugural “Jubilee Day” celebration. This event marked the first of many annual Juneteenth commemorations.

Why is Juneteenth celebrated in Galveston, Texas?

The city of Galveston is the historical marker of Juneteenth because it was where the message of freedom was finally delivered to those who had been kept in the dark about their liberation. The city is a striking symbol of freedom and justice delayed but eventually realized.

Each year, Galveston honors this pivotal moment in history with commemorative events, including parades, reenactments, and educational programs, with the aim that the legacy of Juneteenth continues to be remembered and celebrated.

Hands raised in the air against a blue sky backdrop

Related Posts: Fun Things to Do in Galveston

How do the people of Texas celebrate Juneteenth?

Juneteenth celebrations in Texas are as diverse as the state, but they all share a common theme of honoring African American heritage and culture. Here are some ways Texans celebrate:

  • Parades and Festivals: Cities across Texas host parades featuring vibrant floats, marching bands, and local performers. These parades often culminate in festivals with live music, dancing, and various cultural exhibits.
  • Barbecues and Picnics: Food plays a crucial role in the Juneteenth celebrations. Families and communities gather for barbecues and picnics, enjoying historical dishes and bringing people together in fellowship.
  • Educational Events: Many communities organize educational events such as lectures, museum exhibits, and historical reenactments. These Juneteenth events aim to teach the public about Juneteenth’s history and the broader context of African American history and culture.
  • Church Services: Given the historical role of churches as centers of community life for African Americans, many Juneteenth celebrations kick off with special church services and prayer meetings.

Where are the biggest Juneteenth celebrations?

Juneteenth celebrations span the United States, with some of the largest and most vibrant festivities in key cities. Here are some of the biggest Juneteenth celebrations:

Opal’s Walk for Freedom — Fort Worth, Texas

Named in honor of Opal Lee, known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” this event is a cornerstone of Juneteenth celebrations in Fort Worth. On June 19th, she will walk 2.5 miles from the African American Museum of Dallas to honor the 2.5 years it took for news of freedom to reach enslaved individuals in Texas.

The walk symbolizes the ongoing journey towards equality and justice. Thousands join the walk each year, reflecting on the past while stepping forward together. The event includes music, speeches, and a sense of community that deeply resonates with participants.

Juneteenth Music Festival — Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival is the largest annual Juneteenth celebration in the nation. Thousands attend to have fun together, embrace history, and continue the self-determination tradition.

The inaugural Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival occurred on June 18, 2016. It was a fantastic event that captivated 5,000 attendees. The parade featured 2 colorful floats, 15 spirited units, and hosted 50 vibrant vendors. The conclusion of the parade marked the beginning of an exciting festival at the African American Museum located at 7th and Arch.

Over the last 5 years, this parade has become the biggest in the nation, attracting over 25,000 people! Picture this: a vibrant, culturally rich 1.5-mile-long parade featuring 2,000 participants and more than 20 floats. The excitement continues with a lively festival at the historic Malcolm X Park, boasting 250 vendors and a spectacular musical concert for the whole family to enjoy.

Juneteenth In Texas: Final Thoughts

With so many vibrant and meaningful Juneteenth events in the major cities of the Lone Star State, the only question is: Which one can you afford to miss? From the powerful Opal’s Walk for Freedom in Fort Worth to the grand festivities in Houston, Dallas, and beyond, every city offers its unique spin on this historic celebration. No matter where you are in Texas, you’ll be greeted with many activities that honor the journey toward freedom that shaped our nation.

Whether you’re walking in solidarity, dancing to live music, savoring delicious barbecues, or engaging in educational workshops, there’s a Juneteenth celebration waiting for you. So, gather your friends and family and dive into the festivities. Be a part of this powerful commemoration that reflects on our past and celebrates the enduring spirit of hope and resilience that continues to define our future. Juneteenth is a time to honor our shared history, embrace our cultural heritage, and look forward to future possibilities.

juneteenth celebrations in texas
juneteenth festivities in texas

Last Updated 2 days ago by Jessica Serna | Published: June 9, 2024

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