A Guide To Twin Cities Kid-Friendly Juneteenth Celebrations

Two girls having fun at a picnic: "Kid-Friendly Juneteenth Celebrations in the Twin Cities"

Texas was the first state to officially recognize, the now federal holiday, Juneteenth. As a result, traditional celebrations often reflect a Texas influence. While the people of Texas tend to celebrate with barbecues and rodeos, here in Minnesota, Juneteenth celebrations are heavy on food trucks and music festivals with a focus on African American history, culture and civil rights. Family-friendly festivals abound in Minnesota this year. We’ve gathered up some of our favorites below.

Note: Now that Juneteenth is an officially recognized federal and state holiday, many places may be closed on Monday, June 19th. We recommend calling ahead to avoid disappointment on all special holidays.

A Short History of Juneteenth:

In 2021, President Biden declared June 19th a National Holiday, making Juneteenth an official holiday. Also known as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day, the holiday has been a grassroots celebration for over 150 years, since June 19, 1865 when General Gordon Granger read the General Order Number 3 and enslaved people were declared free in Galveston, Texas. This event happened two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring the end of slavery in the United States on January 1, 1863.

General Order Number 3:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

Read More on Juneteenth.com

Minneapolis / St. Paul Juneteenth Celebrations

Minnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery

1256 Penn Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55411
Ongoing Tuesdays – Fridays from 1 – 5 pm and Saturdays from 10 am – 2 pm

Drop in during open hours to learn about Black-led civil rights movements and leaders in Minnesota in the new exhibit Black Liberation: Dismantling Racism in Minnesota 1800s – 1960s and view the community-created Juneteenth quilts now on display. FREE.

Juneteenth BBQ – Explore West St. Paul Days

West St. Paul Sports Complex, 1650 Oakdale Ave, St Paul, MN 55118
June 9, 2024.

Family-friendly activities include arts and crafts, games, music and food.

Splurge: Juneteenth: Celebration of Freedom

Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
SaturdayJune 14, 2024; 8pm.

An orchestral celebration honoring the emancipation of enslaved African Americans featuring music by African American composers. Ages 6+ allowed; based on the start time, we recommend this as a teen/tween outing. Tickets $33-$68/pp.

Juneteenth Celebrating Freedom Day

Bethune Park, 1304 N 10th Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55411
June 15, 2024.

Family-friendly activities, food vendors, live painting by Kenneth Caldwell and music and entertainment emceed by Maya Marchelle.

Juneteenth Minnesota – West Broadway Block Party

1007 West Broadway Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55411
June 16, 2024; Noon to 6pm.

Children’s activities, including carnival, games and activities geared toward kids. The whole family will enjoy live entertainment and music, a robotics/drone competition and black-owned vendors and food trucks.  FREE. Drop in.

Kumbayah The Juneteenth Story

Northrop Memorial Auditorium, 84 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
June 21, 2024; 11am

An uplifting two-act play that weaves storytelling and music to portrays the events leading up to Juneteenth. Pre-performance activities in the lobby begin at 10:30am. Recommended for ages 8+. FREE. Registration Required.

Girl standing in front of marble column at Northrop Memorial Auditorium in Minneapolis, MN.
Northrop Memorial Auditorium

North Metro Juneteenth Celebrations

Juneteenth Celebration

Brooklyn Center Community Center, 6301 Shingle Creek Pkwy, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
June 15, 2024; 11am-7pm
Community celebration includes entertainment, food, vendors, and activities for all ages. FREE. Drop In.

Maple Grove Juneteenth Celebration

Town Green, 7991 Main Street N., Maple Grove, MN 55369
June 19, 2024; 5-9pm.

Family fun starts at 3pm with a musical entertainment, a vendor fair and food trucks. FREE.

Three kids watching a show at Town Green Park in Maple Grove, Minnesota
Town Green Park

South Metro Juneteenth Celebrations

Free to Be — Celebrating Freedom with the Black Community

North River Hills Park, 11501 19th Avenue, Burnsville, MN 55337
Saturday, June 15, 2024; 1-3pm.

Music and dance performances, live painting, kids crafts, line dance party and food trucks. Go for the celebration and stay for the park. North River Hills Park is always a great place for a picnic, and it has a great playground. FREE. Drop in.

Parktacular Juneteenth Celebration

ROC, 3700 Monterey Dr, St Louis Park, MN 55416
Sunday, June 16, 2024; 1pm-4pm.

Live music, family fun, food and shopping opportunities.

Celebrate Juneteenth at Centennial Lakes Park

7499 France Ave S, Edina, MN 55435
Wednesday, June 19, 2024; 6pm-8pm.

Family-friendly celebration with kids activities and family entertainment, including a story time with A Smile by Isaiah Allen and Art Cart activities.

Richfield Juneteenth Celebration

Richfield Bandshell, 636 E 66th Street, MN 55423
Wednesday, June 19, 2024; 6pm-8pm.

Community celebration and freedom walk. More details TBA.

Centennial Maze
Centennial Lakes Park

Celebrate Juneteenth at Home:

At home family fun: Juneteenth is the celebration of the end of slavery in the U.S. While slavery was never legal in the State of Minnesota, it was a reality in the territory until the landmark Dred Scott decision. Learn more at the MNHS website.

Craft: Make or color a Juneteenth Flag. Homeschool Superfreak offers a free printable flag.

Read aloud: Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford. There are several books about the Dred Scott case for grade school and up kids. I, Dred Scott: A Fictional Slave Narrative Based on the Life and Legal Precedent of Dred Scott can even be added to Kindle. For younger kids, Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine. Other topics to read about could include:

  • President Abraham Lincoln
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or the
  • Civil War between the Confederate States and the Union Army.

Meal Idea: Traditionally families barbecue in the backyard and serve strawberry pop on Juneteenth.

Dinner Conversation Starter: Do you see injustice around you now? What can we do as a family to make a change?

Learn More: at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture. Thank you to Washington County Library for this suggestion.

*This article includes links to Amazon for books. As an Amazon Associate Family Fun Twin Cities earns from qualifying purchases.

More Family Celebrations in 2024

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