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A guide to this weekend’s Juneteenth celebrations

Bill DeYoung

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Live music at the Tampa Museum of Art's 2022 Juneteenth festival. Screengrab.

Monday, June 19 is Juneteenth, a federal holiday. It commemorates the day in 1865 when African Americans in Texas were informed of their absolute freedom.

Although President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law in 1863, enforcement was slow – and Texas, as the farthest state geographically from Washington, D.C., was the last to feel the “make it happen” muscle of Union troops, and therefore the last frontier state to abide by the new law.

Juneteenth has been celebrated since the 19th century; President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law in 2021.

In St. Pete and Pinellas, a full range of public activities begins this week; the schedule continues throughout the weekend and into Monday, Juneteenth proper. Our list includes several large-scale events in Tampa, too.

At The Factory St. Pete, Saturday’s Shades of Pride Festival: A LGBTQ+ Juneteenth Celebration features TS Madison and the King Jives Show Live, Ballroom Extravaganza with host Yummy, Juneteenth Poetry Slam, Legendary Trans Panel, the Pride Afterdark Party and more. It’s free for 18+, starting at 3 p.m.

Saturday brings Gulfport’s 3rd Annual Celebrate Juneteenth event to the Gulfport Casino ballroom, with fun stuff for kids, adults and everybody in between. It’s free (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.); find details here.

Saturday Shoppes celebrates with a Juneteeth Freedom Fest at Tropicana Field, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, with live music, a local makers market, food trucks and more.

The Warehouse Arts District gets into the spirit of things, with its own Juneteenth Freedom Fest, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the Arts Xchange campus, 515 22nd St S. We’re talking live music, activities for kids, food trucks, et cetera.

Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: The Tampa Museum of Art’s second annual Juneteenth Cultural Celebration (“arts, history and equity”); free and family-friendly, with free museum admission, art-making activities, live music and performances, family selfie stations, an interactive drum circle, food trucks and more, adjacent to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Reserve free tickets here.

Also on Sunday, in the waterfront park, participating community partners include Gasparilla Music Foundation, Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, Glazer Children’s Museum, the Tampa Bay History Center, Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival and others.

The Woodson African American Museum is the beneficiary for the annual Jazzy Juneteenth Jubilee fundraiser, Sunday at the St. Petersburg Coliseum. The event is sold out.

In Clearwater, the city’s “Living Culture” celebration series includes Juneteenth Movie Night, Friday at Buccaneer Field, 905 N MLK Jr. Ave., 6:30-10:30 p.m. (free movie screening; bring lawn chairs and blankets.) On Saturday, the North Greenwood Recreation & Aquatic Complex, 900 N MLK Jr. Ave., will host a free business expo from 6 to-10 p.m.; The Father’s Day edition of “The Gospel Experience” 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. at Matheos Hall, 409 S. Old Coachman Road. Free.

Look for live music and performances, craft vendors, food vendors and more at Saturday’s Dunedin Juneteenth Festival, 6-9 p.m. at John R. Lawrence Pioneer Park, 420 Main Street.

And Raymond James Stadium (4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa) has the third annual Tampa Bay R.O.C. The Block Juneteenth Festival 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, with live music DJs, food trucks, vendors, a job fair, a health clinic and more. Find tickets for purchase here.

One more: The Jaeb Theatre, inside Tampa’s David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, has a special Juneteenth performance event Monday at 7:30 p.m. Part of the Arts Legacy Remix series, it’s billed as a night of “spoken remembrances, writings of historical importance and an original performance of music, poetry and dance created especially for this evening.” Admission is free; space is limited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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