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The 42nd Annual Juneteenth Festival is a Celebration of Freedom and Heritage

Buffalo hosts the third largest Juneteenth celebration in the world.

“Freedom is never given; it is won.” —A. Philip Randolph, civil rights activist

What began in 1976 as a reaction to the Country’s Bicentennial Celebration, Buffalo’s Black community blocked off a portion of Jefferson Avenue to celebrate their heritage; painting murals, tasting ethnic foods, and selling wares. Over the years the tradition continued, eventually outgrowing the Jefferson Avenue blocks and becoming what is now known as the Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo.

Although, Buffalo’s celebration is now the third largest in the country. It did not originate in Buffalo. Juneteenth celebrations have occurred in cities across the U.S. going back to 1865 and began as the observance of the ending of slavery in the United States. Many consider the first celebration as “the day Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army rode into Galveston, Texas in final execution of the Emancipation Proclamation.”

“On the evening of June 19, 1865, thousands flooded the streets of Galveston, rejoicing in their newly announced freedom. The sweet smell of barbecue smoke filled the air. Dancing feet pounded the dirt roads and harmonic voices sung spirituals. This was the day, Juneteenth, that would forever commemorate African American freedom.”

Juneteenth has become a world-wide celebration of Black Heritage, not only commemorating emancipation from slavery but honoring African culture and heritage. These community-wide celebrations include guest speakers, picnics, and family gatherings. “The celebration of Juneteenth is not only a showcase event of the African American community’s positive contributions to the American way of life, but it also makes a statement for all Americans that the United States is truly the ‘Land of the Free’,” says Reginald D. Greene, “Juneteenth is an expression and extension of American freedom and, like the Fourth of July, a time for all Americans to celebrate our independence, human rights, civil rights and freedom.”

The Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo will be held from Saturday, June 17 to Sunday, June 18, 2017 in Martin Luther King Jr. Park at the intersection of Best Street and Fillmore Avenue.

Event Information

Saturday, June 17, 2017

11:00 am The 42nd Juneteenth parade begins at Genesee Street and Moselle. The parade will travel on Genesee Street to Best Street into Martin Luther King Park.
11:00 am – 5:00 pm The Health Pavilion includes health agencies offering information that affect the community. The pavilion is located on Fillmore near Martin Luther King Drive.
11:00 am – 8:00 pm Vendor Marketplace Art, jewelry, clothes and other items can be found at the Juneteenth Marketplace.
11:00 am – 8:00 pm Food Court is located at either end of Fillmore Avenue around the wading pool.
2:00 pm. – 8:00 pm The Arts and Culture Stage is located on Fillmore Avenue and E. Parade Street. The Arts and Culture Stage features many local artists.
2:00 p.m. and
4:00 p.m.
Underground Railroad Tour pickups are on Best and Fillmore Street.

 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

10:00am – 8:00pm

Vendor Marketplace Art, jewelry, clothes and other items can be found at the Juneteenth Marketplace.

10:00am – 8:00pm

Food Court is located at either end of Fillmore Avenue around the wading pool.

11:00 am – 5:00 pm

The Health Pavilion includes health agencies offering information that affect the community. The pavilion is located on Fillmore near Martin Luther King Drive.

12:00pm – 8:00pm The Arts and Culture Stage is located on Fillmore Avenue and E. Parade Street. The Arts and Culture Stage features many local artists.

 

2:00 pm and
4:00 pm

Underground Railroad Tour pickups are on Best and Fillmore Street.

Maafa is scheduled for June 21 at Broderick Park (the foot of Ferry Street) at 6:00 pm. Maafa is an opportunity to reflect and heal from the atrocities that were inflicted on Africa and African people.

For more information on the Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo – visit www.JuneteenthofBuffalo.com or call 716-891-8801.

Juneteenth of Buffalo exists exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. Staffed by volunteers, its mission is to actively preserve and promote the broad spectrum of African American heritage through educational and cultural activities that will benefit the community as a whole. Juneteenth Festival, Inc. partners with existing organizations with similar community-based objectives to help achieve its mission.

Written by Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli is a WNY native, born and raised in the Lincoln Park area of Tonawanda. She has been involved in local politics from an early age and is currently a Tonawanda Democratic Committee Member. As an avid equestrian and animal-lover, she trained and re-homed over 40 horses. For over a decade, she was an event planner with the law firm, Hodgson Russ LLP, and now owns her own marketing and event management company. She has worked with international and national organizations on large and small scale events. Jessica writes on politics and local events, as well as working with Buffalo Rising as a social reporter.

View All Articles by Jessica Marinelli
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  • mediumriser

    The drive by an ammo sales tent over on best st. Gunsmith service tent on Fillmore

    • BufChester

      Not funny or true.

    • Captain Picard

      Come on, where are the editors? Comments like these should be targeted for removal. If we’re going to censor people who criticize politicians, we can at least get rid of the racists while we’re at it.

      • mediumriser

        Freedom of speech Mr marshmallow an what the truth hurts!!

        • Captain Picard

          You sound new here.

          • mediumriser

            Sorry been on here for a about 5 years