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
George Latimer Central Library, 90 West 4th Street, Saint Paul MN 55102
Saturday, June 11, 2022; 11:30am-4pm.
An all-ages outdoor celebration includes African American Music, Art and Literature Exhibitions. Families can also participate in a story stroll on their own. FREE. Drop in.
Sumner Library, 611 Van White Memorial Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55411
Sunday, June 12, 2022; 11:12pm-5pm.
Outdoor event includes performances of poetry, dance, music and storytelling. There will be food. FREE. Drop in.
**Find Hennepin County Library online Juneteenth events here.
22nd-24th Street and Emerson Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55405
Sunday, June 12, 2022; 3pm-6pm.
This music festival features DJ Mad Mardigan and GenerationNOW as well as food trucks. Hosted by Bridge for Youth, an outreach program for homeless youth, this event was created to “Amplify, Elevate and Inspire Action through youth voice…” Learn more about Bridge for Youth here. FREE. Drop in.
Juneteenth Story Strolls
North Commons Park, 1801 N James Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55411
Bottineau Field Park, 2000 NE 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55418
Phelps Field Park, 701 E 39th St, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Sunday, June 13-20; Park Hours.
Stroll the pages of a book in three Minneapolis parks the week of Juneteenth. FREE. Self-Guided.
- “Juneteenth: A Children’s Story” by Opal Lee at: North Commons
- “Family Reunion” by Chad Richardson at Bottineau
- “Soul Food Sunday” by Winsome Bingham at Phelps
Creekview Park, 5001 N Humboldt Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55430
Friday, June 17, 2022; 9pm to 10:30pm.
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) plays at dusk. This PG-13 documentary may be best for families with teens. FREE. Drop in.
Sun Ray Library, 2105 Wilson Avenue, Saint Paul MN 55119
Saturday, June 18, 2022; 12pm-3pm.
Families can enjoy performances, games, crafts and food in Sun Ray’s Library Garden. FREE. Drop in.
Midtown Global Market, 920 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Saturday, June 18, 2022; 12pm-3pm.
Listen to traditional storytelling with Auntie Beverly, enjoy drumming, dance and music performances and a reading of “Black Boy, Black Boy” and “Black Girl, Black Girl” by Crown Shepherd. There is always good food at the market. FREE. Drop in.
Bethune Park, 1304 N 10th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55411
Saturday, June 18, 2022; 11pm-6pm.
The parade starts at 11am, followed by an afternoon full of festivities, including live entertainment, kids activities, exhibits & vendor booths and food trucks. FREE. Drop in.
1007 West Broadway Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55411
Sunday, June 19, 2022; 8am-6pm.
This block party will have children’s activities, including bounce houses, 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.
Hook & Ladder, 3010 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Sunday, June 19, 2022; 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. Register in advance for the chance to win prizes during the festival.
Northwest Metro Juneteenth Celebrations
Central Park, 8200 Noble Avenue, Brooklyn Park, MN 5544
Friday, June 17, 2022; 5-9pm.
This event, recognizing the experience of African Americans and the ending of institutionalized enslavement is FREE and open to all Brooklyn Park residents! No registration necessary. Families will enjoy live performances, storytelling and family activities. Food trucks on site.
Central Park, 12000 Central Park Way, Maple Grove, MN 55369
Sunday, June 19, 2022; 11am-6:30pm.
Family fun starts at 1pm with a musical entertainment, eSports, the splashpad and a vendor fair and food trucks. Arrive earlier to participate in Yoga and/or HIIT Fitness in the park.
Silverwood Park, 2500 County Rd E, St Anthony, MN 55421
Sunday, June 19, 2022; 3pm-7pm.
Three Rivers Juneteenth Celebration will include live music, open mic poetry and spoken word, free canoe rides, yoga and games, as well as check community vendors.
Southeast Metro Juneteenth Celebrations
Apple Valley Community Center, 14603 Hayes Road, Apple Valley, MN 55124
Friday, June 17, 2022; 4:30pm to 8:30pm
Family-friendly activities include kids activities, a dance production, a young entrepreneur expos and community booths. FREE. Register on EventBrite.
365 Marie Avenue West, W. St. Paul, MN 55118
Friday, June 19, 2022; 3pm-7pm
This free event is open to the entire community and features blac-owned businesses, a DJ an food trucks. Dodge Nature Center will have a Kid Zone with nature activities and a scavenger hunt. FREE.
Southwest Metro Juneteenth Celebrations
North River Hills Park, 11501 19th Avenue, Burnsville, MN 55337
Saturday, June 18, 2022; 1pm-3:30pm
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.
7499 France Ave S, Edina, MN 55435
Sunday, June 19, 2022; 11pm-3pm.
Family-friendly celebration with kids activities, entertainment, education and a book giveaway.
ROC, 3700 Monterey Dr, St Louis Park, MN 55416
Sunday, June 19, 2022; 12pm-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.
Read aloud: 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 2022
- 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 2022 Family Planning needs in your inbox: