Juneteenth in America
A scout drum band performs during the 61st Annual Juneteenth Celebration in San Francisco, June 2011. (© Liu Yilin/Xinhua/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The California way to celebrate Juneteenth combines the historicity of the holiday with the state's reputation for innovation and a signature style. In Los Angeles, the third Annual Juneteenth Heritage Festival, a two-day celebration, steps off Saturday and Sunday, at Leimert Park Vision, 4300 Degnan Blvd., at the corner of Crenshaw and Vernon.
The festival will feature traditional games like bid whist, spades and bones, as well as gospel music and square dancing; the event will see the launch of a new neighborhood Wi-Fi system, providing free Internet access to visitors and residents of Leimert Park. A certain 2012 highlight: Festivalgoers will have the opportunity to join a "Soul Train"-style dance line, honoring the memory of "Soul Train" founder Don Cornelius and Whitney Houston, a singer for the ages. The festival goes on 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
The Jordan Rustin Coalition will present the fourth annual Juneteenth Celebration and Awards Ceremony on Sunday from 3 to 7 p.m., at the Renberg Theatre at Ed Gould Plaza, in central Hollywood. The fundraising event adopts a semi-formal ceremony in the tradition of the Oscars, and celebrates people who've made a positive mark in the city's African American LGBT community.
Juneteenth in Utah
Juneteenth in Nevada
Juneteenth in Tennessee
Juneteenth in Ohio
In San Francisco, 380 miles north, black residents of the city and the Bay Area generally will welcome the 62nd annual San Francisco Juneteenth Festival, one of the larger Juneteenth gatherings on the West Coast. The two-day event kicks off Saturday at 11 a.m., with the raucous Juneteenth Parade at the African American Art & Cultural Complex, on Fulton Street, in the heart of the Western Addition, a historic enclave for black San Franciscans. The festival continues on Fillmore Street between Geary and McAllister; if past turnout is any judge, expect as many as 25,000 people. And not to be outdone by rivals to the south, festival organizers hope to create the world's longest "Soul Train" line on the streets of San Francisco. If you go, bring your good shoes.
Participants march in a Juneteenth celebration parade through the streets of Harlem in New York (© Richard Levine/Alamy)
New York City will mark Juneteenth with celebrations in different locations, from the heart of Harlem to the neighborhoods of Brooklyn. A Juneteenth festival is set for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 116th Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Fifth Avenue. Partake of food, games and a performance by the Ruff Ryders motorcycle stunt team.
Brooklyn expands the Juneteenth calendar with its 2012 Juneteenth Celebration, set for Sunday, June 24, at the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza. This gumbo of an event will feature music, a program by the KowTeff African Dance Company, an open-air bazaar with an African-themed marketplace, a fashion show, a variety of workshops, dance and fitness classes for kids and adults. Admission $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12.
Elsewhere in Brooklyn, Urban Bush Women and the Cooperative Culture Collective present the 12th annual Fort Greene Juneteenth Arts Festival on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at Cuyler Gore Park, in the Fort Greene neighborhood.
In Peekskill, N.Y., the second annual Juneteenth Parade is on for Saturday at 1:30 p.m., with the opening ceremony at the Park Street A.M.E. Zion Church. The actual parade begins at 2 p.m. And in Buffalo, N.Y., the 37th Consecutive Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo takes place on Saturday and Sunday at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Saturday events start with praise and worship from 9 and 11 a.m., followed by the Juneteenth Parade. Festivities and other events, including a book fair, historical exhibits, children's activities and a health pavilion, continue at the park until 8 p.m. A basketball showcase for girls and boys, an "Art Chalk Walk" and a wealth of other activities will be under way both days.
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