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Celebrating Juneteenth, Cleveland style!

Events are planned all across the city to commemorate a monumental day in American history.

CLEVELAND — Saturday is Juneteenth – a celebration of the full emancipation of slaves in the United States.

Cleveland is pulling out all the stops with plenty of events and activities planned to commemorate what is considered the longest-running African-American holiday. June 19 is a day not only of celebration, but a day to reflect on the triumph of freed slaves. 

The largest Juneteenth event in the area – The MetroHealth Cleveland FreedomFest – promises family-friendly fun, food, music, art, even fireworks – rain or shine.

"Tomorrow we want the entire community to come down and be a part of this joyful gathering," Tony Sias, President and CEO of Karamu House (which will be performing at the event) said. "So many people don’t know about what Juneteenth is and this is the opportunity for us to educate them.

"We have new works, and then we’re doing a couple of Nina Simone songs and stuff like 'What's Goin' On'."

"This event is a celebration, but also a realization that the fight has not finished," Alan Nevel, Chief Diversity Officer with MetroHealth Medical Center, added.

LIST: Juneteenth events and programs held around Northeast Ohio

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in ALL states, but Texas hung on to the practice for 2 more years, until June 19th, 1865 - now known as "Juneteenth." 

"We look at inclusion, diversity, and equity," Nevel said. "That's really what it’s all about."

"There are over 20 black vendors down here, a wealth of activities for young people," Sias stated. "It's a family-friendly even."

Looking for a job? FreedomFest has that covered, too.

"We will have a number of booths," Nevel told us. "We'll be doing some interviewing. We have plenty of job openings."

MetroHealth Cleveland FreedomFest is Saturday, June 19 from noon-10 p.m., downtown on Mall C. 

"Bring a friend," Nevel said. "Bring somebody that doesn’t know about Juneteenth, because we can’t assume that everyone, including people of color, know the significance of Juneteenth."

LEON BIBB REFLECTS: Cleveland ready to celebrate Juneteenth with Freedom Fest


    • June 19 & 20, join Djapo Cultural Arts Institute to celebrate culture, identity, and Juneteenth with a two-day workshop held at Inlet’s headquarters and a LIVE performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
    • Cleveland’s Freedom Fest is set to become an annual destination event in the heart of Downtown Cleveland, poised to position our community as a national leader in celebrating Juneteenth. Set to take place on Saturday, June 19 from 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm on Mall C in the heart of Downtown Cleveland, the city-wide, family-friendly celebration and commemoration of Juneteenth will feature headline performances from by GRAMMY Award-winning performers Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science with special guests Ms. Lisa Fischer and Maimouna “Mumu Fresh” Youssef; “Freedom on Juneteenth: Songs of Liberation,” a mainstage performance by Karamu House, the country’s oldest Black producing theatre; and a fireworks finale made possible by #CL3Alliance, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Browns, and Cleveland Indians.
    • Join Coventry Village and Safer Heights in supporting black-owned businesses and artists at our Juneteenth celebration on June 19th! Led by local black artists/organizers, this event is for our WHOLE neighborhood to celebrate the freedom and contributions of the black community in Cleveland Heights and beyond.
    • Mx. Juneteenth: A Black & Queer Liberation Celebration. A free event with a suggested donation of $5; $10 for non-Black attendees. No one will be turned away for inability to pay.
      Juneteenth: Party With a Purpose! Hosted by: Sevynteenth Foundation. The money raised from this event will go directly to fund scholarships for our summer campers!
    • #JuneteenthOnBuckeye: The Buckeye Summer Soul Series in partnership with NAACP Cleveland Branch, Black Lives Matter Cleveland and New Era Cleveland, will host the 4th Annual 
    • #JuneteenthOnBuckeye, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM, at the Art & Soul park located at 11802 Buckeye Rd, Cleveland, OH 44120. The celebration will include live entertainment, giveaways, food, vendors and various support resources for residents.
    • Land Before Rhyme – Juneteenth Show. Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland 2728 Lancashire Road Cleveland, OH 44106 “On this day we will honor our ancestors with our truths, our stories, our hopes, our tragedies and triumphs with the spoken word. Don’t miss it”
      Juneteenth Bicycle Ride Around the Circle: Celebrate Juneteenth 2021 with Juneteenth Freedom Rides for a casual family-friendly bicycle ride through the University Circle area.
    • Juneteenth Unityfest: is a national Livestream event conceived by Grammy-nominated African-American artist Robert Randolph, that will bring together people of all backgrounds in a day of unity to commemorate and celebrate Juneteenth and Black culture with musical performances, inspiring remarks, films, comedy, storytelling, and appearances by civic leaders and influencers. SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 2021 5PM ET / 2PM PT.
    • Interconnected Liberation: Art and Conversation on Juneteenth and World Refugee Day; People’s Park 760-762 Elma Street Akron, Ohio 44302
    • Deep Roots and BLM Cleveland Juneteenth Art Show. Friday, 9:00 PM – 1:00 AM: 3100 E 45th St #320
    • Juneteenth Block Party & Vendor Fair – UnBAR Cafe, 12635 Larchmere Blvd, Cleveland OH, 44120 12 PM-4 PM
    • Celebrate Juneteenth at GlenVillage Pavilion – GlenVillage, 1400 E. 105th St, Cleveland OH, 44106 5:30PM-8PM (June 18th)
    • Juneteenth Cleveland Cultural Gardens Centennial Peace Plaza, Harrison Dillard Trail, Cleveland OH, 44108 11AM-3PM
    • Juneteenth Bluesfest Lakeview Park, 1800 W. Erie Ave, Lorain OH, 44052 3PM
    • Celebrate Juneteenth Cabaret Style 4600 Carnegie Ave, Cleveland OH, 44103 12PM-4AM

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