Here's Where You Can Celebrate Juneteenth In Central Texas This Year
Saturday is Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the end of chattel slavery in the United States.
Its origins trace back to June 19, 1865, the day slaves in Texas learned they were free. Though President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Confederate states didn’t recognize the decree. Slaves in Texas weren’t freed until more than two years later when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger delivered the news of their freedom.
The holiday is celebrated across the U.S. and has garnered increasing recognition. Last year, the Austin City Council established Juneteenth as an annual city holiday. This week, the U.S. House and Senate passed a bill that would make Juneteenth a legal public holiday.
Here are some Juneteenth celebrations happening in Central Texas this weekend:
Central Texas Juneteenth Parade and Festival
The parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and travels down Chicon Street to Rosewood Avenue, where it ends at Rosewood Park. It’s followed by festivities, including food, vendors and music, at Rosewood and Boggy Creek Park. A fireworks show closes out the day at 9 p.m. This annual parade and festival are put on by the Greater East Austin Youth Association, the city and a number of other organizations. Find a map of the parade and more information at www.juneteenthcentraltexas.com/parade.
Juneteenth Social Ride
Local cyclist Talib Abdullahi created a Black history bike tour through Austin last summer on the heels of racial justice protests. He’s hosting another one this Saturday for Juneteenth. It’s an 8-mile bike ride with several stops during which people learn about pieces of Austin’s Black history. It starts at 10 a.m. at the Texas African American History Memorial on the state Capitol Grounds. There’s more information at blackhistorybikeride.com/events.
Montopolis Historic Marker Dedication & BBQ
The Montopolis Community Development Corporation is unveiling a historical marker at the Burditt Prairie Cemetery, an African American cemetery in Montopolis. Speakers will talk about the Burditt Prairie Freedmen’s Community and give tours of the cemetery. A block party and barbecue follows the dedication ceremony. The event is Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Bring Your Family to the Park” Day in Travis County
Travis County is celebrating Juneteenth at East Metro Park on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. People can fish at the park’s pond (fishing poles and baits will be provided), swim at the YMCA pool (starting at 1 p.m.) and purchase food at various booths. COVID-19 vaccines will also be offered on site. There’s more information here.
Juneteenth Freedom Summit: Birth of a New American Freedom
UT Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs and Center for the Study of Race and Democracy are hosting their inaugural Juneteenth Freedom Summit. Speakers will talk about “education, housing, wealth, and why Juneteenth matters now more than ever, amid a national political awakening on racial justice and equity.” The event will be held on Zoom at 11 a.m. Saturday. You can register here.
ACC Juneteenth Celebration
Austin Community College is hosting a virtual celebration for the community discussing the significance of Juneteenth. The livestream runs from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday. You can join here.
Georgetown Juneteenth Celebration
The Georgetown Cultural Citizen Memorial Association is hosting an event from noon to 1p.m. on Saturday at 801 West St., Georgetown, next to the historical Shotgun House. It will feature the Saving Grace Praise Team, gospel singer Chad Jackson and keynote speaker Wesley Jarmon, founder of the Ernest Everett Just Foundation. There’s more information here.
Hutto Juneteenth Celebration
There’s a citizens' march from Hutto Middle School to City Hall starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. People are encouraged to bring signs to “show solidarity with Black Humanity.” A ceremony follows at 11 a.m. during which leaders will talk about the significance of Juneteenth. From noon to 6 p.m. there will be a festival and vendor fair. There’s more information on the organization’s Facebook page.
Round Rock Juneteenth Rhythm and Ribs Festival
The festival runs from 4 p.m. to midnight on Saturday at the Lakeview Pavillion in Old Settlers Park. It features food, vendors and live music from Jay Shalé, Eric Bellinger and Montell Jordan. Find more information here.
Buda Juneteenth Celebration
There will be music, food and activities commemorating Juneteenth at the Buda Amphitheater and City Park Pavilion from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
San Marcos Juneteenth Foundation Charity BBQ Cook-off
The event features music, vendors, a barbecue taste test line-up and other activities. It’s from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at City Plaza Park in San Marcos. There’s more information here.