ORLANDO, Fla. – Juneteenth, referencing the date of June 19, marks the day that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 with news the American Civil War ended and that enslaved people were now free.
There were an estimated 250,000 enslaved people in Texas that year.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S., but it was not an official federal holiday until just last year. President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on June 17, 2021. This officially made June 19 a federal holiday.
Cities in Central Florida are celebrating Juneteenth by hosting performances, block parties, festivals and more. If you have an event you’d like added to this story, please send information to email@example.com.
Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration
- Saturday, June 18, at Lake Lorna Doone Park from 12-5 p.m.
- Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, District 5 Commissioner Regina I. Hill and District 6 Commissioner Bakari F. Burns will join the Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration, which will feature live music and food trucks.
Ragtime: A Benefit Concert
- Saturday and Sunday, June 18-19, at Dr. Phillips Center from 3-8 p.m.
- The Central Florida Community Arts presents a performance that intertwines three American tales of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician. The show is described as, “Together, they confront history’s contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair, and what it means to live in America. Proceeds will go toward the CFCArts education program.”
Kissimmee Juneteenth Festival
- Saturday, June 18, at Kissimmee Lakefront Park from 12-5 p.m.
- The City of Kissimmee hosts this festival to celebrate African American culture, community and unity as a commemoration to the end of slavery in the U.S.
Black Wall Street Juneteenth Block Party
- Saturday, June 18, on Wall Street near Lake Eola Park from 1-10 p.m.
- With over six DJs, four clubs and up to 50 small Black businesses, this block party celebrates Juneteenth by helping buy from Black businesses. Vendors range from clothing, self-care, financial expertise and more.
Black Theatre Girl Magic
- Sunday, June 19, at Orlando Repertory Theatre and Loch Haven Park.
- The “Lunch and Learn” series will teach children about the holiday through dramatic readings of Juneteenth books from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Orlando Repertory Theatre.
- Right around the corner from the theatre, the “Facets of Freedom: Juneteenth Celebration” will feature musical and cultural performances, an art exhibit, a DJ and food trucks in Loch Haven Park from 6-10 p.m.
Juneteenth in the City of Cocoa
- Saturday, June 18, at 401 Riveredge Blvd. from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- The City of Cocoa celebrates excellence, freedom and legacy with guest speakers, the Reflections band and performances by the Emma Jewel Charter Academy step team.
Juneteenth Holiday Community Festival in Daytona
- Saturday, June 18, at Cypress Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- With a pound cake contest, over 100 food vendors and interactive activity booths, proceeds from this event will help support college scholarships for youth in the area. The event is free to attend and will also have children’s games, educational activities and live music.
Mid-Florida Juneteenth Music Festival in Apopka
- Saturday, June 18, at Apopka Amphitheater from 3-9 p.m.
- This festival will provide a platform that will educate the community about the Juneteenth holiday. There will be a kid zone to highlight kid entrepreneurs, a performance by R&B singer Jacquees, over 30 vendors along with local artists, a fashion show and a dance troupe.
- General admission tickets cost $50. Most ticket options are available here.