How to celebrate Juneteenth in Kentucky this weekend

By Marvin Bennett, Building Kentucky

Many cities across the Commonwealth are preparing to celebrate Juneteenth. On June 19th, 1865, after Union troops marched through Galveston Bay, TX and successfully freed the last of the approximately 250,000 enslaved Africans from involuntary servitude, the former slaves dubbed the day Juneteenth, signifying the end of slave labor and African American bondage in the United States.

There are plenty of events taking place throughout Kentucky to celebrate Juneteenth, providing opportunities for Kentuckians across the Commonwealth to learn more about African American history and celebrate how far the African American community has come since the inception of this holiday.


Louisville Juneteenth Festival – June 1 – 17

The Louisville Juneteenth Festival runs from the beginning of the month until one day before Juneteenth. Taking place at Waterfront Park, this festival includes games, music and educational opportunities for locals to find out what Juneteenth means to Louisville.

Juneteenth Solidarity Ride – June 17

Cyclists in Louisville celebrate Juneteenth with the annual Juneteenth Solidarity Ride, a family friendly biking event for Louisville residents to come together and commemorate the holiday. Beginning at 8 a.m., cyclists arrive at Shawnee Park & ride through Willow Park together, observing beautiful views along the way. Helmets are required for this event and all traffic laws must be obeyed.

Juneteenth Heritage Weekend – June 17 – 18

The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage will host a Juneteenth Heritage Weekend Event, kicking off the festivities with the Fannie Lou Hamer story. A one-woman show following the story of Fannie Lou — a woman often described as the “mother of voter registration for Black America.”

Heritage Weekend’s final event will take place on June 18th – The Juneteenth Jazz Brunch. This event features an instrumental quintet, a perfect occasion for dinner and a show. The show is set for 2 p.m. and tickets are available for purchase for $40-45 on Eventbrite. Both events will be housed at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.

Juneteenth Open Mic – June 19

If you are one with a penchant for poetry, spoken word or other forms of artistic expression, consider stopping by the Juneteenth Open Mic, hosted via Zoom. Black artists will be able to showcase their talents – whether that talent be music, poetry, hip-hop or jazz. At the end, the performances will be voted on and the winner will receive $50. Tickets available for purchase on Allevents.

Not Your Average Brunch: Juneteenth Edition – June 18

Calling all foodies! Come out to the Loft at the Biscuit Lounge to enjoy good food, good music and good company at this Juneteenth Brunch! With four featured chefs, a DJ and a photographer present, this is the perfect event for a professional looking for a fun way to celebrate in a classy way. Brunch starts at noon and will go until 5 p.m. Tickets are available for $40 on Eventbrite.


Soulteenth Fest – June 17

The one-day Soulteenth Festival in Lexington celebrates black culture through music, art, agriculture and food at the Moondance Amphitheater. Located on Monarch Street, this free festival is one of Kentucky’s biggest Juneteenth events. This event will take place from 12-6 p.m., so be sure to come out!

She’s Proud to Be: A Juneteenth Event – June 19

Those looking to show some artistic expression should join Nell Horman for a different kind of painting event – where the instructor will teach the painting step by step for the class. Guests will also have the option to create their own soy candle at an additional cost. Visit Nell in Lexington at 6:30 p.m. for an evening of fun, art, sisterhood and comradery. $39 tickets available for purchase on

Juneteenth Hip Hop Brunch – June 18

Luna & Fable invites you to join them for a Juneteenth Hip Hop brunch where participants will enjoy a multitude of options made from ingredients sourced by Black Soil KY. To accompany brunch, there will also be drinks provided by Harvey’s Bar and great tunes from some of the finest DJs in the area. Extra food will be made available for purchase at the conclusion of the event. $50 tickets available on Eventbrite.

A Celebration of Black Performing Arts  — June 17

The Lyric Theater & Performing Arts Center will host a showcase designed to illustrate Black achievements in performing arts. The showcase will include all types of performing arts: With everything from singing, rapping, jazz, line dancing, DJing and more on the menu. Doors for the performance will open at 4 p.m.


Covington 3rd Annual Juneteenth Event – June 17

The city of Covington will host its 3rd annual Juneteenth Celebration in Randolph Park. This free event invites all of Kentucky to enjoy food, games, educational anecdotes and more all surrounding the topic of Juneteenth and African American emancipation.


Florence Juneteenth Event – June 19

Florence will hold its first ever Juneteenth annual event, joining many cities across the state to celebrate this historic holiday. With the theme “Discover your roots,” the festival will offer a plethora of activities — from arts and food vendors, to health services and informational vendors. This is a free event suited for the entire family.

After the festivities, head over to the Kentucky historical proclamation site of the First African American Church in Florence for the memorial and educational ceremony to learn more about the history of Juneteenth.


Midway Freedom Festival – June 17

Midway’s Juneteenth Freedom Festival kicks off in the historic downtown district. Patrons will be able to enjoy performances, shop, eat, dance and learn about African American contributions throughout American history.


Henderson Juneteenth Event – June 19

Henderson will commemorate Juneteenth by hosting a day filled with family friendly events and activities, along with a festival that will highlight Black vendors and creators. This will provide exposure to the Black residents of Henderson with a profound impact on the community. The celebration kicks off at 9 a.m. and will be free for all to attend.

La Grange

A Journey on a Civil Rights Trail – June 17

A Journey on a Civil Rights Trail is a free event dedicated to offering a local perspective on the Civil Rights Movement. Taking place at the African American Cemetery in La Grange, locals will gather to commemorate their ancestors and honor their legacy before relocating to the Oldham County History Center for refreshments and entertainment.


Freedom Day – June 17

Paris residents will celebrate their “Freedom Day” at Bourbon County Courthouse Square. From 11 a.m. until 4 .pm., this will be the location for games, food, motivational speakers and black excellence for everyone to participate in the spirit of Juneteenth.

Mt. Vernon

BBQ Soul Food Potluck – June 19

Heat Studio Art & Body in Mt. Vernon will host this year’s Juneteenth celebration with a BBQ soul food potluck. Bring your favorite food to be barbecued, then make your way down to the Hall of Fame for the free blues festival at 5 p.m., featuring Hall of Fame inductee Tee Dee Young!


The Connection of Knowing Our History & Good Mental Health – June 17

Library is to host a presentation of The Connection of Knowing Our History & Good Mental Health featuring Dr. Jose Pimienta-Bey of Berea College to kick off Juneteenth. After the presentation Huntertown Community Interpretive Park will host food vendors, games and other entertaining activities to commemorate Juneteenth.


Hopkinsville Juneteenth Celebration – June 17

Hopkinsville Divine 9 HBCU Community is hosting this year’s Juneteenth celebration in conjunction with the Hopkinsville Boys and Girls Club bringing forth entertainment such as food, games, face painting, music and skits for the whole family to enjoy. The celebration will commence with a speech at 1 p.m. given by Qurayish Ali Lansana.

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