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.
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
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’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.
- What: Performance/lecture/dinner event
- Where: Longwood Gardens Theater, Lincoln University
- When: June 18, 19, 20
- How Much: $35 – $100
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.
- What: Juneteenth event
- Where: Delaware Art Museum 2301 Kentmere Pkwy. Wilmington, Del.
- When: Saturday, June 19, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- How much: Free, with registration
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.
- What: In-person jazz concert
- Where: Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Ave.
- When: Saturday, June 19, 5 p.m, 7 p.m.
- How Much: $15 – $25
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.
- What: Friday night prayer service
- Where: Virtual via the National Museum of American Jewish history’s website or YouTube page
- When: Friday, June 18, 5 p.m.
- How Much: Free, with registration
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.
- What: Virtual film festival
- Where: Online via the official website
- When: Through June 30
- How much: $7 – $10
Philadelphia 76ers playoff games
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
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
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.
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