Juneteenth festivities take place across Philadelphia this weekend

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Friday, June 16, 2023
Juneteenth festivities take place across Philadelphia this weekend
Juneteenth festivities take place across Philadelphia this weekend

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Ever since the nationwide recognition of Juneteenth, Nina Elizabeth Ball has seen the celebrations grow in size.

"It's very encouraging because I've watched the holiday grow," said Ball, who is the director of programming at The African American Museum in Philadelphia. "When it became a federal holiday recently is when we were able to get even more energy and more attention behind this very important holiday."

For the third year, the African American Museum in Philadelphia will host its Juneteenth Block Party. It's happening on Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. along Arch Street between 7th and 8th streets.

"It's meant to feel almost like a family reunion," said Ball. "It is wholesome, it is family-friendly and it's all free."

The block party's theme is Liberation Rising. It'll feature everything from historic reenactments to modern-day music.

SEE ALSO: Pennsylvania Juneteenth Initiative holds annual Honor the Ancestors Breakfast

At Belmont Mansion in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, the Pennsylvania Juneteenth Initiative held its "Honor the Ancestors Breakfast" on Friday.

"We are headlining with hip hop royalty DJ Spinderella," said Ball. "We have hopscotch, cotton candy, face painting, and health activations. I can't even name all the things we are doing."

The museum is also offering free admission on Saturday and Monday including the exhibit "Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America."

"Artists were commissioned to answer that fateful question, is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy?" said Ball.

Even though admission is free, guests are encouraged to register for a time slot. The museum will also be free on Saturday.

The museum is expecting anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000 visitors between the block party and the free museum access.

The weekend of Juneteenth festivities kicked off on Friday morning with the Honor the Ancestors breakfast, which paid homage to Trudy Haynes and LaDiva Davis. It begins a weekend of activity for the Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival. The parade on Sunday begins at 11 a.m. at 52nd and Parkside. It ends at 2 p.m. at 52nd and Pine streets.

The parade will be live-streamed and then broadcast on 6abc at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

SEE ALSO: Road closures, parking restrictions | What to know ahead of Philly's Juneteenth Parade

"You can look forward to fun, food, music, seeing Black excellence walking down 52nd Street," said Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade Executive Producer Sonni King.

The parade will be followed by the Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

"We've got a big festival going on in Malcolm X Park with vendors, health screenings, and a children's village. We've got two stages," said Gary Shepherd, president and CEO of Third Floor Media and co-host of the Juneteenth Parade.

It promises to be a weekend celebration of freedom for all.

"Juneteenth is a part of America's history," said Ball. "So everyone is absolutely welcome."

Click here for a full list of events across the Delaware Valley.