From art activities to music performances, the Las Vegas community celebrates Juneteenth
To commemorate Juneteenth, Las Vegas hosts a variety of festivals, concerts and festivities to honor this federal holiday.
What is Juneteenth? Juneteenth (July 19, 1865) celebrates the day when American troops traveled to Galveston, Texas to take over the state and ensure freedom for all enslaved African Americans. These U.S. soldiers didn’t arrive in Texas until two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, which declared all enslaved people to be freed.
Here’s a quick overview with all the deets on exciting celebrations taking place this weekend around the valley.
Festivals and Performances
Las Vegas Juneteenth Festival
The Rainbow Dreams Educational Fund presents the 21st Annual Las Vegas Juneteenth Festival this weekend. The celebration started out as a one-day art event. Since its inception, the fest has grown to include a variety of art, music, dance, culture and more. The site says the festivities attract an average of over 3,000 attendees, 50 plus vendors and offer over 50 scholarships. Vendors listed on their homepage include La Shelle Whitmore, an all-natural skin care line; Girlfriendz Godly Gifts, African inspired clothing and gifts; Apple Heads, a candy apple dessert business, among others.
Where: The Expo at World Market Center, 435 S. Grand Central Pkwy
When: June 18 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Whitney Ranch Recreation Center (Henderson)
In Henderson, Juneteenth Festival 2022 is two days filled with music, community and culture to celebrate the special occasion. The first day of festivities will take place at the Whitney Recreation Center, followed by more activities on the second day at the Water Street Plaza.
Where: Saturday, Whitney Recreation Center, 1575 Galleria Dr.; Sunday, Water Street Plaza, 240 S. Water St.
When: Saturday, June 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday, June 19 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
In Downtown Las Vegas, Soul Sessions held at Raw Remedies inspire three spoken word artists: Tabia Mawsui, Xulee and Phillip J. Lightfoot. Together they created Mend A City: The Movement. Through performance art, rhythm, and prose, the performers act with a purpose. One of their goals is to “awaken the masses and eradicate the mendacity that plagues our nation and stagnates our human rights through White Supremacy and its doctrine of Racism.”
Where: Raw Remedies, 203 E. Colorado Ave.
When: June 17 and 18 at 8:07 p.m.
Cost: Tickets start at $35
10th Annual Juneteenth Jazz, Art and Spoken Word Festival
To raise awareness of the meaning behind Juneteenth, the 10th Annual Juneteenth fest honors the holiday with videos, conversation, lectures, edutainment, music and more. Special guests include Juneteenth Jazz, Blues and R & B, Olabisi African Dance Ensemble, Spoken Word Artist Griot Nation and Pioneer Awards, recognizing local heritage and culture. The National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) Communications Director/President of Juneteenth Nevada, Deborah Evans and Founder of Samuel L. Smith Educational Foundation, Dr. Al Gourrier will host the event.
Where: West Las Vegas Library, 951 W. Lake Mead Blvd
When: Sunday, June 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
West Charleston Library
Attend the Juneteenth Emancipation Celebration featuring “celebratory music, heartfelt spoken word and one-of-a-kind storytelling.” The programs will educate participants about the history of Juneteenth, which is a federal holiday marking the end of slavery and the start of the battle for freedom and equality for all.
Where: West Charleston Library, 6301 W. Charleston Blvd
When: Saturday, June 18 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
More Celebrations and Events
Discovery Children’s Museum
Join the Discovery Children’s Museum for Juneteenth festivities. The museum will offer several activities, such as creating celebratory banners, a replica of the Juneteenth flag, paint, see historic photographs and enjoy storytelling. Plus, the museum will include a dance performance by Culture Shock, a vocal performance by Alli Star, African mask workshops and a workshop celebrating the African American history of braiding.
Where: Discovery Children’s Museum
When: Saturday, June 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Local admission is $13.50, entrance fees vary
Poetry, Paint and Potions
Poetry, Paint and Potions bring “an epic showcase competition of performative art” to Raw Remedies just in time to celebrate Juneteenth. The event features poets, rappers, vocalists and dancers performing for a chance to win a cash pot prize, choreography training, studio time and other goodies. Guests may get creative by picking up a paintbrush and making their own artwork with holiday-themed canvases. Sip on mixed drinks while sparking your imagination. All tickets include one free glass of champagne.
Where: Raw Remedies, 203 E. Colorado Ave.
When: Sunday, June 19 starting at 7 p.m.
Cost: Tickets start at $20
Another way to show support for Juneteenth is to shop at local, Black owned businesses.