Celebrating Juneteenth, great dads, and the summer solstice in this week’s ‘Things to Do’

June 18-20 - Juneteenth, park solstice, fun for fathers

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After last year’s protests against racial injustice — in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others — cities, states, and municipalities considered the Juneteenth holiday as a way to bring people together to celebrate Black history, culture. and heritage. This year, many of the celebrations in the tri-state expand on the idea of equality and justice with unique events. Be mindful that while COVID is receding, some protocols and restrictions remain, particularly for those still unvaccinated.

Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival

The Positive Movement Entertainment drill team leads a protest through West Philadelphia on Juneteenth. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

According to their official site, Philadelphia’s community celebration of Juneteenth, which began in 2016, is the largest in the nation. Though COVID-19 turned the attendant parade into a march, events this year include a Freedom Day house float competition (similar to what was done in New Orleans in lieu of parades for Mardi Gras,) music, food, dance, and the first “Art in the Park” exhibit.

  • What: Annual celebration of the African American holiday
  • Where: starts at 52 St. and Haverford Ave., moves to Malcolm X Park
  • When: Saturday, June 19, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

Trenton Juneteenth Weekend Festival

Juneteenth celebration in Trenton, N.J. (Trenton)

In conjunction with The African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County (AACCofMC) and local politicians, Trenton is debuting its inaugural Juneteenth celebration this year. The three-day festival encompasses a health-and-wellness pavilion, a bike ride, children’s activities, a gospel concert, food, and more.

  • What: Three-day holiday celebration
  • Where: Downtown Trenton, N.J., Mill Hill Park
  • When: Friday, June 18 – Sunday, June 20
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

Chester County Juneteenth Festival: Journeying Toward Freedom

Caroline Randall Williams (Chester County)

Chester County’s three-day event includes a performance from poet and professor Dr. Joshua Bennett, a panel with writer and public intellectual Caroline Randall Williams and the winners of the “I Matter” poetry competition, and a special dinner event with Greenwood Supper Club founder Elijah Milligan.

Egungun Festival

Juneteenth celebration (Austin Public Library)

The second annual Juneteenth event at the museum, it’s hosted by Abundance Child, Dr. G, and Rachelle Wilson. The celebration incorporates a flag-raising ceremony, musical and dance performances, and art therapy. Food trucks and arts and crafts vendors will be on site.

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Juneteenth: A Holiday for All

Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble at WRTI (youtube/ WRTI)

In conjunction with the African American Museum of Philadelphia, Woodmere Art Museum’s Saturday Night Jazz series transforms into a musical celebration of the Juneteenth holiday with two shows featuring musical selections from the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble. They will play compositions including excerpts from the jazz opera “Never Back Down” and will be joined by Philly poet and musician Nina “Lyrispect” Ball.

Juneteenth Kabbalat Shabbat

Rabbi Sandra Lawson (Emma Lee /WHYY)

This prayer service organized by Be’chol Lashon, an organization raising awareness of diversity among Jews, features guests including African American rabbi Sandra Lawson, African American cantor Sabrina Sojourner, Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein, and more. This event celebrates the rich history of Juneteenth and the cultural traditions that surround it.

PrideFlix: Virtual Pride Film Festival

The virtual film festival offers movies on demand that cover all aspects of the LGBTQ+ community. Selections include “Almost Love” about the challenge of keeping relationships intact no matter how you identify, “Army of Lovers in the Holy Land” about a fictional Swedish band that finds an unlikely fanbase in Israel, and “Gay Chorus Deep South” a documentary about the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir who combine to do a tour through the Deep South to change minds and lives.

Philadelphia 76ers playoff games

Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid yells to the crowd during the first half of Game 5 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

If the 76ers go to a game 7 in their second-round series vs. the Hawks and ascending superstar Trae Young, you can be there, as there are limited in-person tickets available. Better still, if you take your dad, you will likely win daughter or son of the year. If there’s no game 7, you can either apply those tickets to the next round or use your refund to buy a Sixers jersey to cheer them on next season.

  • What: In-person sporting event
  • Where: Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St.
  • When: Sunday, June 20, if necessary, time TBD
  • How much: $130 and up

Celebrate Solstice

Belmont Plateau (Fairmount Park Conservancy)

The official start of summer, June 20 is also the longest day of the year. The summer solstice, as it is known, has been celebrated since ancient times. Fairmount Park is hosting a series of events on Sunday that include a sunrise hike and a yoga class on Belmont Plateau, a labyrinth-making workshop, and a Father’s Day kayak cruise and picnic.

  • What: Themed events to celebrate longest day of the year
  • Where: Fairmount Park, various locations
  • When: Sunday, June 20, 5:30 a.m.
  • How Much: $15, 20 or $25 pay what you wish

Rodney and Erika McLeod Fitness Challenge

Rodney and Erika McLeod (provided)

Philadelphia Eagles safety Rodney McLeod and his wife Erika formed the Game Changers with WHYY to positively impact children’s educational outcomes. With this fitness event, which offers everything from Pilates to HIIT training with a post-workout happy hour, they hope to raise $10K for the initiative.

Keep checking with “Things To Do” as we continue to provide our picks for entertainment during the industry’s COVID-19 recovery. Please consult our coronavirus updates to keep up with the latest information regionally.

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