**UPDATE: Announcement affecting ONE event as noted.**
Originally published May 10, 2017; updated June 17, 2017
Across the state, Juneteenth commemorative events are being planned. Community gatherings include music, speakers, vendors, food, and family activities.
Juneteenth, a combination of June and nineteenth, commemorates June 19, 1865, when news of the abolition of slavery reached slaves in Texas — although the Emancipation Proclamation was dated to set them free on January 1, 1863.
While the official celebration date is June 19, some communities schedule their events for other dates. At some community celebrations nationwide, the Juneteenth celebration includes reading of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
Rocky Mount NC (Nash/Edgecombe Counties)
The Juneteenth Community Empowerment Festival is Rocky Mount’s largest community festival. The event kicks off Friday with life Jazz. Saturday, two stages include a variety of performers. Come and enjoy the music, dance, check out cultural activities, shop from local vendors (Saturday), get tasty treats from food vendors (Friday-Saturday), and enjoy the weekend with friends and family.
On Friday, June 2, 2017, an Outdoor Stage in Imperial Centre’s courtyard, activities begin at 5:30pm, with the last performers taking the stage at 9pm. Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences is located at 270 Gay Street, Rocky Mount NC.
On Saturday, June 3, 2017, two stages host musicians, bands, a bike rodeo, Step Competition, and a Keynote speech by The Honorable Frank D. Jackson, former Mayor of Prairie View, Texas. The day’s activities kick off at 11am and wrap-up after the 7pm performers. Both stages will be at the Imperial Centre, with the Main Stage on Church Street and the second stage in the courtyard.
On Sunday, June 4, 2017, 3pm, the public is invited to join the Juneteenth Committee for an all-white after party at Shaq’s After Dark, 1200 E Highland Avenue, Rocky Mount NC.
More information, including vendor forms, is online at downtownrockymount.com/events/juneteenth. Vendor application links — for commercial ($75), nonprofit ($25), and food vendors ($75) — may be found on that page.
Rocky Mount NC is a city in Eastern North Carolina, split across Nash and Edgecombe counties. The Rocky Mount NC Metropolitan Statistical Area includes approximately 200,000 residents.
Louisburg NC (Franklin County)
**UPDATE June 17, 2017 — According to the Franklin County Arts Council, today’s Juneteenth Celebration is canceled due to flooding in the park (Louisburg NC).**
Franklin County Arts Council’s Diversity team is sponsoring their second annual Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 17, 2017, at River Bend Park, Louisburg NC.
To reserve a free vendor space, or if you want to sign-up to perform music, Jackie Dove-Miller via email. Note that the deadline to register is May 25, 2017.
The Franklin County Arts Council is online at fcacarts.org.
Durham NC (Durham County)
Downtown Juneteenth Celebration
This 13th-annual Juneteenth Celebration is June 17, 2017, and is free and open to the public. The event runs 1-10pm along E Main Street in Durham NC.
Activities will be “geared toward family participation, community unification and good old fashioned fun” The day kicks off with an Opening Ceremony including “songs, prayer, proclamations, pouring of the libation, and presentations on the origin and significance of Juneteenth.”
Vendor spaces or sponsorships may still be available as of this writing. See more event details at spectacularmag.com/events/ncjuneteenth.
Stagville Plantation Morning Event
Also on June 17, 2017, the Stagville State Historic Site is holding a Juneteenth event. All are invited to the Historic Stagville Plantation to celebrate emancipation and freedom. Historic Stagville is located at 5828 Old Oxford Road, Durham NC.
Winston-Salem NC (Forsyth County)
Old Salem Luncheon
The event is open to the public and includes a tour of the St. Philips African Moravian Church — the oldest standing African American Church in NC — where the ending of slavery was announced on Sunday, May 21, 1865.
Luncheon fee is $25 per person, or $20 for Students and Friends of Salem, plus sales tax. Reservations are required; call 1.800.441.5305 or using the form to make a reservation.
Event details may be found at www.oldsalem.org/events/event/juneteenth-luncheon.
Triad Juneteenth Festival
The 13th-annual Triad Juneteenth Festival will take place on Saturday, June 17, 2017, from noon to 7pm. The festival will be held inside and outside at Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, utilizing Biotech Place and Bailey Park at 575 N Patterson Avenue, Winston-Salem NC.
The festival has five integral components:
- Music and Dance — Performances by groups that reflects African American culture – African Dance, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues and Gospel.
- Arts and Education — Presentations by exhibitors and artists through an Art Exhibit, Quilting, Meet the Author, Heritage Demonstrations, Relics and Artifacts.
- Youth Area — Youth participate in cultural Games, Arts and Crafts, Music and Dance, and Face Painting.
- Health and Community — Health Screenings, Community Services, Voter Registration.
- Marketplace — Vendors provide ethnic products, attire and foods associated with the African American cuisine.
This festival is free and open to the Public. Free parking in the deck. See more at www.triadculture.org.
Belmont NC (Gaston County)
The City of Belmont’s Juneteenth Celebration is scheduled for June 17, 2017, 2-9pm. (Just in case, Rain Date is June 24, 2017.)
This public event is free and lists local entertainment, vendors, food, and artifacts as features of the day’s activities. This Juneteenth Celebration will be held at Stowe Park, 24 S Main Street, Belmont NC.
To apply to be a vendor, email or call 704.755.5210.
For more event details or updates, visit www.facebook.com/juneteenthbelmont. Note that vendor applications should be available from that Facebook page.
The Charlotte-based Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas is scheduled for June 15-19, 2017. For updates and event information, watch their Facebook page.