25 Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth in Pennsylvania in 2024

Many Americans believe that the institution of slavery ended January 1, 1863, the date set forth in President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Declaration on September 22, 1862, or when the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. While this did signify emancipation in some states, deep in the Confederacy, years passed before all enslaved people were truly free. Juneteenth, celebrated each year on June 19, is widely recognized in the Black community as the true end of slavery. It’s sometimes called Liberation Day, Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, and it is the day in 1865 when General Order No. 3 was issued by Major Gen. Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas. His announcement stated that, in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation, “all slaves are free.”

Many Black communities plan Juneteenth gatherings and parties, often centered around food and music. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed a law declaring Juneteenth a Federal holiday, and since 2019, it’s been a state holiday in PA! Here are 25 ways to honor and celebrate Juneteenth in Pennsylvania this year:

NEPA

African American Network's Juneteenth Freedom Festival Stroudsburg

Sherman Theater Juneteenth Freedom Festival: On Saturday, June 15, from 2 to 6:30 p.m., join The Sherman Theater and the African American Network of the Poconos for the 22nd Annual Juneteenth Freedom Festival. This free community event will be held in Courthouse Square, in Stroudsburg featuring live music all day, food, vendors, educational fun and networking opportunities. 600 Main St., Stroudsburg.

Juneteenth Jubilee Scranton

Black Scranton Juneteenth Jubilee Block Party: This rollerskating and block party invites the community to celebrate Juneteenth on wheels! The Black Scranton Project Center for Arts & Culture will set up a temporary skating rink in its parking lot and offer free skate rentals, soulful music, complimentary ice cream, refreshments and great vibes. Guests can bring their own skates, and both roller skates and roller blades are welcome. It’s all going down on Saturday, June 15, from 1 to 5 p.m. 1902 North Main Ave., Scranton.

NAACP Wilkes-Barre Branch Juneteenth Celebration

Juneteenth 2024: On Saturday, June 15, at noon at Coal Street Park (MLK Memorial Park), the community is invited for a free Juneteenth community day, organized by the NAACP Wilkes-Barre Branch #2306. This event goes until 5 p.m. and includes music, prizes, vendors, entertainment and free food for those who pre-register on Eventbrite. Coal St., Wilkes-Barre.

Easton Juneteenth Parade: On Sunday, June 16 the Lehigh Valley will host its second annual Juneteenth, which will bring together agencies and leaders from the African American communities in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. Colorful floats, steppers, drum lines, fraternities and sororities, children’s groups and dance troupes will also be included in the parade. The parade will journey down Northampton St. from 3 to 5 p.m. Northampton St., Easton.

Allentown’s Juneteenth Celebration and Block Party & Pageant: Allentown’s many Juneteenth celebrations culminate with two signature events – a beach party and a block party. The Juneteenth Celebration beach party takes place on Saturday, June 15 from 2 – 8 p.m. at Cedar Park Beach,with free all-day admission to the pool and food, merchandise, and art vendors, featuring Black owned businesses. The festivities continue on Wednesday, June 19 with a Juneteenth Block Party & Pageant downtown on Hamilton Street with new and returning food, merchandise and resource vendors. 2600 Parkway Blvd., Allentown.

Juneteenth Music Fesival at the SteelStacks in Bethlehem: There are Juneteenth events happening for over a week long, between June 8 and 19, throughout Bethlehem, culminating in a family-friendly music festival. The celebration starts at noon on Saturday, June 15, featuring a packed schedule of performers and live music representing a variety of genres, including R&B, soul, jazz, reggae and a special tribute to 50 years of hip-hop. The children’s stage features lots of fun activities, like cupcake decorating and face painting, and everyone is welcome to peruse and purchase the offerings of the ethnic food and goods from over 40 Black-owned businesses.  101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.

Southeastern PA

Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival: Organized by the Pennsylvania Juneteenth Initiative, this will be the eighth annual Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival to take place. The schedule features a number of exciting events, including the 1.5 mile long parade on Sunday, June 16, from noon to 2 p.m. on South Concourse Dr. across from the Mann Center, the Juneteenth Marketplace and Art in the Park in Malcom X park on the same day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the Juneteenth Music Festival, also on Sunday, June 18, from 3 to 7 p.m. at 52nd and Larchwood Streets. Also happening is the Get Fresh Daily Plant Based Cookout + Hangout, an annual garden cookout held by Get Fresh Daily, kicking off its monthly Freedom Greens + Gardens’ Black Farmers Market with the Black Farmers Cooperative. Enjoy a free, 100% plant-based cookout from 12 – 4 p.m. with veggie burgers, baked beans, grilled corn and more at 5200 Pine Street, Philadelphia.

Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom: Penn Museum and Forum Philly present a free community day on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advanced registration is encouraged for this fun festival, featuring music and dance including a drumline, storytelling, workshops and hands on activities like drumming and quilt making, a diaspora DNA pop-up exhibit, Black owned business vendors focused on health and wellness and tasty food trucks. At 2 p.m. in the Harrison Auditorium, the Juneteenth Honors Program will spotlight achievements of K-12 students and teachers. 3260 South St., Philadelphia.

Juneteenth Wine & Arts Festival: This second annual Juneteenth celebration takes place on Saturday, June 15 from 1 – 6 p.m. on Cherry Street Pier, featuring many Black-owned wineries. Admission is free and wine-tasting tickets are available for purchase in advance or at the door, with savings when you pre-purchase online. There will be live music, craft vendors and art exhibits. 121 N. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia.

Johnson House Historic Site The Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival

Johnson House Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival: Another Philadelphia celebration will be held at the Johnson House Historic Site in Germantown, an underground railroad station and center for social advocacy. The event takes place on Saturday, June 15 in the afternoon and evening, kicking off at noon. There’ll be food and retail vendors and more, all free to the public. 6300 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia.

Journeying Towards Freedom: Voices Underground, a local organization that seeks to increase exposure to the story of the Underground Railroad, has partnered up with the PA Tourism Office, to present a statewide Juneteenth commemoration, including a variety of programs and public events. This includes an evening with Ruth Naomi Floyd presenting original jazz compositions paired with the words of Frederick Douglass on Friday, June 21, a free Juneteenth festival at the Creamery on Saturday, June 22 from 12 – 6 p.m., and a Freedom’s Table Dinner on Sunday, June 23 at Lincoln University. Various locations in Kennett Square.

Norristown Juneteenth Jubilee Street Festival

Juneteenth in Montgomery County: There’s a variety of county-sponsored and community Juneteenth events in MontCo in 2024. The Juneteenth Community Celebration in Pottstown is a street festival held on Saturday, June 15, on downtown High St. between York and Charlotte, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.. There will be live bands and a DJ, basketball tournaments, face painting, a drumline, dance teams, storytelling and much more. Other Montco events include a Juneteenth Flag-Raising at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown on Tuesday, June 18, at 10 a.m., and the Norristown Juneteenth Jubilee Street Festival on Wednesday, June 19 from noon to 7 p.m. on Dekalb and Main Streets, with lots of live music, food trucks, an African dance and drum ensemble, and adult beverages for purchase. For more info, see here for event listings. Various locations.

2024 Phoenixville Juneteenth Celebration: Another chance to enjoy community and fun for Juneteenth in Montco is at the annual Freedom Day celebration in downtown Phoenixville. On Sunday, June 16, between  2 and 6 pm, Diversity In Action, Black Light Projects, Orion Communities, The Colonial Theatre, the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation and Trellis for Tomorrow have organized a number of activities, like historical reenactors, music, art, dance, drummers, street theater, magic, soul food and storytelling. 200 Bridge St., Phoenixville.

Cultural Alliance of Chester County Juneteenth West Chester

West Chester Juneteenth: There’s over a week’s worth of events happening for West Chester’s Juneteenth celebrations this year. In addition to film screenings and walking tours of Bayard Rustin’s West Chester and underground railroad points of interest, the Juneteenth Festival will take place at the Charles A. Melton Arts & Education Center on Saturday, June 15, starting at 1 p.m. Activities include food, music, speakers and performances while shopping with local Black owned businesses. 501 E. Miner St., West Chester.

Central PA

Community Action Partnership Juneteenth Cultural Mixer: On Sunday, June 16, the Community Action Partnership in Lancaster will host its third annual Cultural Mixer at the Crispus Attucks Community Center. This free event will include food and beverages, performances, community connection, and games. 407 Howard Ave., Lancaster; (717) 394-6604.

Juneteenth HBG

Juneteenth HBG 2023: Our state capitol has a lot planned for Juneteenth this year! These include a free, family-friendly Black Arts Expo on Monday, June 17 at 5 p.m., a Juneteenth History Bowl trivia competition for teens, a Juneteenth Summit Conference at Harrisburg University with empowermenteur Angela Rye as the keynote speaker, and a Juneteenth Summer Vibes concert stacked with amazing artists on Saturday, June 15. The festivities culminate on Wednesday, June 19 with a free Juneteenth Jubilee in City Island Park at noon, with Black-owned businesses, kid-friendly activities, numerous local resources and organizations and food trucks. Various locations.

Franklin County Juneteenth Celebration: Organized by Racial Reconciliation, a social and racial justice nonprofit, this Juneteenth celebration kicks off on Saturday, June 22, at 11 a.m. at Mike Waters Park with a party including a kids’ book giveaway, entertainment, dancing, bounce houses, vendors, games, food and more. 10 Redwood St., Chambersburg.

State College Juneteenth Celebration Weekend

State College Juneteenth Celebration Weekend: Hosted by the State College NAACP, in partnership with the Borough of State College, the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State and The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, this two-day celebration includes an art show on Friday, June 14, at the Woskob Family Gallery (146 Allen St.), and a free Juneteenth Block Party on Saturday, June 15, on the 100 block of S. Fraser Street.

Williamsport Juneteenth: The CommUnity Zone partners with The Griot Institute at Bucknell, Bucknell Equity & Inclusive Excellence, Lewisburg Downtown Partnership and Lewisburg Neighborhoods to hold a Juneteenth celebration. This year, the event is scheduled for Wednesday, June 19, at Hufnagle Park in Lewisburg, and is shaping up to be a great celebration. The theme is: “Celebrate Our Ancestors, Elevate Our Youth, Liberate Our Minds,” with a special focus on the youth, including presentations of scholarships to a group of young people. There will be entertainment, live music, drumming, yoga, meditation, vendors, food trucks, and more. St. Louis Street, Lewisburg.

Western PA

Western Pennsylvania Juneteenth Homecoming Celebration: From June 14 through 16, there’s lots going on at the Western Pennsylvania Juneteenth Homecoming Celebration in Point State Park and inside Market Square in Pittsburgh. Each day features live musical performances, including 51 Years of Hip Hop with Philadelphia Freeway and Beanie Sigel, Ladies Night with Elle Varner, Arrested Development, Kelly Price and many more performers. The Jubilee Parade gathers at Freedom Corner downtown on Saturday, June 15, stepping off at 11 a.m. This weekend-long festival is free and open to the public, with nearly 50,000 expected to attend. Various locations.

Lawrence County Juneteenth Celebration

Lawrence County Juneteenth Celebration: This two-day festival is presented by the Cultural Committee of New Castle, Game Changer, NAACP New Castle, The IMA, Son of the City, Prevailing Word Word Outreach Center and Fresh Wind Ministries. It runs Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15 in Cascade Park in New Castle, kicking off at 4 p.m. Friday with a welcome and “why we are celebrating” session. On Saturday, celebrate “unity in the community” from noon until dusk, with a fireworks display following. 1928 East Washington St., New Castle.

Swissvale Celebrates Juneteenth: This third annual Swissvale keeps the area’s celebrations going with its all-day event on Sunday, June 23 at Les Getz Memorial Park. It’s open to the public with live musical acts, vendors, raffles, silent auctions, fun for the kids and more. Les Getz Drive off 7200 Church St., Pittsburgh.

Erie & Northwestern PA Juneteenth Celebration

Erie & Northwestern PA Juneteenth Celebration: In addition to a networking mixer on Friday, June 14, the main event of Erie’s Juneteenth is the Block Party Celebration on Saturday, June 15, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Perry Square. There will be live music, giveaways and plenty of vendors representing Black-owned businesses. On the following Saturday, June 22, the region’s celebrations continue with a Juneteenth Celebration at Diamond Park in Meadville from 11 a.m. to  4 p.m. with family-friendly fun. Various locations.

How are you celebrating Juneteenth this year? Let us know!

  • Feature photo: Juneteenth Lehigh Valley
  • Flyers: Courtesy of respective events