Flags, banners, lights and a variety of events will be part of the Juneteenth celebration in Lexington.
“This is our first opportunity to really celebrate Juneteenth as a national holiday, and thanks to people in the community, we’re going to have a great celebration,” Mayor Linda Gorton said.
Community organizers are presenting a variety of events in celebration of Juneteenth. Flags and banners through downtown will be joined by businesses lighting up their buildings to support and raise awareness around the holiday.
Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, became an official federal holiday last year. It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States – the June 19th holiday honors the day all the enslaved in the US were legally freed.
Councilmember James Brown said, “With this being the first year the City has really been able to celebrate Juneteenth as a national holiday, it is important that we support a variety of local grassroots Juneteenth events and celebrations.”
Juneteenth flags will adorn Main Street beginning June 13. There will also be banners along the Legacy Trail. City Center, Central Bank Building, LexPark Garages and Pedways, Rupp Arena, Transylvania University, and the University of Kentucky will light up their buildings and structures , and display digital signage promoting the holiday.
Events highlighting the celebration in Lexington:
- Soulteenthwhich is a part of SoulFeast Week, will kick things off at Moondance Amphitheater on June 18 with a celebration of black liberation and ingenuity through music, art, agriculture, and food.
- Immediately following will be the 17th Annual Juneteenth Jubilee at African Cemetery No. 2. It highlights the spirit of freedom, and honors Civil War soldiers who fought for it.
- On June 19, a Juneteenth Festival will take place at Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden, which is presented by Kentucky US Freedmen Coalition. The festival will include vendors, entertainment, kids’ activities, and community fellowship celebrating Black liberation.
- On the evening of June 19, Wiseguys Barbershop and Georgetown St. Neighborhood Assoc. Will present a Juneteenth Celebrationtaking place at Douglass Park from 5 – 9 pm, including food, inflatables, and music.
- Capping off the celebration will be the Affrilachian Poets Literary Event At the Lyric Theater & Cultural Arts Center. The event features acclaimed members of the Affrilachian Poets. Hosts for the evening will be Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson and former Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X. Walker.
Saturday, June 18
Presented by: SoulFeast Week
Moondance Amphitheater – 1152 Monarch St.
Noon – 7 pm
Presented by: African Cemetery No. 2
African Cemetery No. 2 – 419 E. Seventh St.
7 – 8:30 pm
Sunday, June 19
Presented by: Kentucky US Freedmen Coalition
Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden – 577 E. Third St.
11 am – 7 pm
Presented by: Wiseguys Barbershop & Georgetown St. Neighborhood Assoc.
Douglass Park – 726 Georgetown St.
5 – 9 pm
Juneteenth Independence Day Celebration
Affrilachian Poets Literary Event
Presented by: Lyric Theater & Cultural Arts Center
Lyric Theater & Cultural Arts Center – 300 E. Third St.
Visit lexingtonky.gov/juneteenth for more information about the events and activities happening throughout the weekend across Lexington.