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.
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.”
Minneapolis St. Paul Juneteenth Celebrations
CommUNITY Block Party
22nd-24th Street and Emerson Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55405
Sunday, June 11, 2023
Live entertainment and family-friendly activities. Learn more about Bridge for Youth here. FREE. Drop in.
Juneteenth Celebrating Freedom Day
Bethune Park, 1304 N 10th Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55411
Saturday, June 17, 2023; 12pm-6pm.
Family-friendly activities and vendors.
Midtown Global Market, 920 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Saturday, June 17, 2023; 12pm-3pm.
Storytelling, musical performances and good food at the market. FREE. Drop in.
Juneteenth Minnesota – West Broadway Block Party
1007 West Broadway Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55411
June 19, 2023; 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.
Soul of the Southside Juneteenth Festival
Hook & Ladder, 3010 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Sunday, June 19, 2023; 1pm-6pm.
This family-friendly festival features live music all day as well as speakers, poets and artists and black-owned businesses and food trucks. FREE with Registration.
Splurge: Juneteenth: Celebration of Freedom
Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Saturday, June 23, 2023; 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 $27-$67/pp.
Northwest Metro Juneteenth Celebrations
Maple Grove Juneteenth Celebration
Town Green, 7991 Main Street N., Maple Grove, MN 55369
Sunday, June 19, 2023; 3-8pm.
Family fun starts at 3pm with a musical entertainment, a vendor fair and food trucks. FREE.
Juneteenth: Black Health is Wealth!
North Hennepin Community College, 7411 85th Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
Saturday, June 17, 2023; 1pm.
Featuring food, fun and education.
Southeast Metro Juneteenth Celebrations
ROCC the City Juneteenth Celebration at Dodge Nature Center
365 Marie Avenue West, W. St. Paul, MN 55118
Saturday, June 17, 2023; 2pm-6pm
This free event is open to the entire community and features black-owned businesses, a DJ and food trucks. Dodge Nature Center will have a Kid Zone with nature activities and a scavenger hunt. FREE.
Southwest Metro Juneteenth Celebrations
Free to Be — Celebrating Freedom with the Black Community
North River Hills Park, 11501 19th Avenue, Burnsville, MN 55337
Saturday, June 17, 2023; 1-:303pm.
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. Music and dance performances, live painting, kids crafts, line dance party and food trucks. FREE. Drop in.
Celebrate Juneteenth at Centennial Lakes Park
7499 France Ave S, Edina, MN 55435
Monday, June 19, 2023; 4pm-8pm.
Family-friendly celebration with kids activities and a story stroll, as well as family entertainment, readings and concessions.
SLP Juneteenth Celebration
ROC, 3700 Monterey Dr, St Louis Park, MN 55416
Sunday, June 18, 2023; 1pm-4pm.
Live music, family fun, food and shopping opportunities.
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 2023
- Twin Cities Father’s Day Events & Activities
- Parade Calendar: Guide to Local Parades in the Twin Cities (We haven’t yet found a local Juneteenth Parade, but we continue to watch for one.)
- Twin Cities June Family Festival Guide
- Thinking of visiting San Diego, California this summer? Gianna has ideas for Family Fun.
- Be sure to sign up for our newsletter for all your Summer 2023 Family Planning needs in your inbox: