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Here's where to celebrate Juneteenth in Central Texas this year

Bubbles surround a float during a Juneteenth parade
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
Bubbles emanate from a float in a Juneteenth parade in Austin last year.

Many Americans think slavery ended in the U.S. the day President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, but some 250,000 enslaved Texans waited another two years to learn about their freedom.

On June 19, 1865, federal troops led by Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston to announce that all enslaved people had been freed. A year later, a group of freedmen came together to celebrate the anniversary of their liberation and began the tradition of Juneteenth.
Texas was the first state to recognize June 19 as a state-wide holiday on June 7, 1979. And last year, President Joe Biden declared the day a national holiday.

Since the first celebration in 1866, Juneteenth commemorations have expanded across the country. Here are some Juneteenth celebrations happening in Central Texas this weekend:

Black West Austin Driving Tour, June 12-17

The Neill-Cochran House Museum is offering a tour of historic locations in the Wheatsville, Pease Park and Clarksville neighborhoods. Head to the museum between 11 a.m and 4 p.m. this week to get a copy of the Black West Austin Driving Tour. The self-guided tour includes a QR code to learn the history at each location. The tour highlights the impacts of the 1928 master plan, which effectively segregated Austin and is responsible for many modern-day racial divides.

Austin Area Urban League Juneteenth Freedom Fest, June 16-19

The Urban League is sponsoring an 18-hole golf tournament at Avery Ranch Golf Club starting at 8 a.m. Thursday. Entrance comes with driving range access, a golf cart, lunch and a golf polo. You can enter the tournament as an individual or as a team team.

On Saturday, the Urban League is hosting Freedom Fest at Colony Park from 1-4 p.m. The festival will include a BBQ competition, activities for kids, food trucks and Soul of the City musicians.

On Sunday, the Urban League is hosting a Young Professionals Brunch at its headquarters on Cameron Road from 1 to 3 p.m. Bottomless mimosas and a buffet brunch will be accompanied by live music and networking with professionals from a variety of industries.

Travis County Juneteenth Celebration, June 17

Travis County will host its 33rd annual Juneteenth celebration at the Travis County Parking Garage Atrium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. The festivities will include food booths, face painting, games and free COVID-19 vaccines. All Travis County employees and members of the public are invited.

A child standing up through the sunroof of a car raises his fist a parade watchers
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
A child gestures to the crowd during the annual Juneteenth parade in East Austin last year.

Central Texas Juneteenth Celebration, June 18

The annual Central Texas Juneteenth Celebration will feature a parade through the historic Rosewood neighborhood and end with a celebration in nearby Boggy Creek Park on Saturday. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. on the corner of MLK Boulevard and Salina Street, then will travel down Chicon Street and finish on the corner of Chestnut Avenue and Pleasant Valley Drive at noon.

After the parade, there will be live entertainment, food, local vendors and a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.

Juneteenth Nightcap, June 18

The Historic Victory Grill is hosting a Juneteenth Nightcap from 10 p.m. until close on Saturday. The party will feature upscale R&B, hip-hop and reggae music.

Soul Food Truck Festival, June 18

The annual Soul Food Truck Festival will return on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Huston-Tillotson University. Food trucks, live music, Black-owned business vendors and health and wellness professionals will be in attendance. The official ambassadors of the event are Huston-Tillotson President Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette and District 1 Austin City Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison.

Juneteenth Jubilee, June 18

Cheer Up Charlies is hosting a Juneteenth Jubilee to “celebrate Black excellence” on Saturday. Nearly 20 artists will perform music spanning a range of genres. The party starts at 3 p.m. and will continue until the bar closes.

San Marcos Juneteenth Charity BBQ Cook-Off, June 18

The San Marcos Juneteenth Festival will begin with a Unity Walk starting at 9 a.m. at the intersection of LBJ and MLK on Saturday. The walk will end in Dunbar Park, where live music and a BBQ cook-off will begin.

Buda Juneteenth Celebration, June 18

The Buda Amphitheater & City Park is hosting the third annual Juneteenth celebration Saturday. Bring two non-perishable food items to donate to the Hays County Food Bank and enjoy music, food trucks and vendors at the festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cedar Creek/Bastrop County Juneteenth Celebration, June 18
 
The Hopewell Rosenwald School will host a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Visitors can tour the historic landmark, sample a variety of food and connect with local organizations and resources.

Round Rock Juneteenth Festival, June 18

The 14th annual Round Rock Juneteenth Festival will take place at the Lakeview Pavilion in Old Settlers Park Saturday from 4 to 11:30 p.m. The free event will feature live music from hip-hop duo Kid ‘n Play, games, food, vendors and more.

Stay Black & Live Juneteenth Festival, June 18-19

The George Washington Carver Museum and Six Square, Austin’s Black cultural district, are joining forces to throw the Stay Black & Live Juneteenth celebration festival. On Saturday, the museum is hosting a family-friendly "community kickback" from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. that will include a Black makers market, games, tours of the museum, quilt-making and other activities.

On Sunday, the Carver Museum will host a mini-music festival with almost a dozen artists scheduled to play on the freedom lawn from 12-6 p.m. Guests can listen to the music while enjoying food from Black-owned food trucks.

Pflugerville Juneteenth Pfamily Reunion, June 19 

Noir Creators Space and Black Pflugerville are hosting the second annual Pflugerville Juneteenth Celebration from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday at Wells Point Sports Park. The festival will feature a DJ, vendors, photo booth and more for participants of all ages.

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