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Where to Celebrate and Commemorate Juneteenth in California

Where to Celebrate and Commemorate Juneteenth in California

Honor the historic independence from slavery in the United States with joyous celebrations across the Golden State

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Posted 3 months agoby Jessica Sebor

Fireworks celebrations, picnics, and sparklers mark Independence Day on July 4—but in 1776, the year the “all men are created equal”-affirming Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Continental Congress, much of the American populous remained enslaved. That’s why many consider Juneteenth the day of American freedom. Officially recognized as a state holiday in California since 2003, Juneteenth (short for June 19th) marks the end of slavery in the United States. 

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but it wasn’t until June 19 in 1865 when Union troops marched to Galveston, Texas, to enforce this law that the institution of slavery was finally toppled. Now a meaningful day for Americans everywhere—especially those of African descent—Juneteenth is celebrated all over the country. In California, this means all-day block parties, star-studded concerts, and food-filled festivals. Here’s how and where to honor the holiday in 2022, and how you can keep the celebration going by supporting Black-owned businesses in California all year. 

Sacramento Juneteenth Festival

Sacramento’s three-day-long affair (June 17–19) will kick off with a “Gospel Under the Stars” concert on Friday night in William Land Regional Park. On Saturday, the festival expands to two stages with keynote speakers, local bands, and a community talent show. Come Sunday, golfers can enjoy a day on the links with the Juneteenth Tournament on William Land Golf Course.  

Sonoma County Juneteenth, Santa Rosa 

The 52nd Annual MLK Festival of Diversity and Inclusion marks a time-honored tradition in Santa Rosa that features gospel, jazz, and R&B performances on June 18. Other highlights include educational speakers, an arts-and-crafts fair, domino games, and a basketball tournament. March to commemorate freedom from Julliard Park to Martin Luther King, Jr. Square

San Francisco Juneteenth Weekend

Founded in the spring of 2020 in solidarity with the George Floyd uprising, SF Black Wallstreet is committed to creating economic power for Black residents in the Bay Area and beyond on June 19. This year’s Juneteenth celebration in Gilman Playground will focus on dads and families (it’s also Father’s Day) with amusement park rides, live performances, and one-of-a-kind shopping at the Black Millionaire Marketplace. 

Juneteenth Weekend, Oakland 

Famous for a legacy of Black history and culture, the city of Oakland honors Juneteenth in a big way. Head to Lake Merritt on Saturday for the PanAfrican Wellness Fest to find activities centered on meditation, yoga, tai chi, self-defense, and more. On Sunday, get into party mode at the 10th annual Fam Bam. Groups can reserve a private cabana as you dance to sets from Bay Area DJs and browse PanAfrican vendors and original art. 

Juneteenth in the Streets, San Jose 

Presented by the African American Community Service Agency, 2022 marks the 41st celebration of San Jose’s official Juneteenth jubilee. Join an expected 6,000-plus revelers on June 18 to listen to performances from R&B singer (and Toni’s youngest brother) Tamar Braxton as well as gospel headliner Kierra Sheard. The organization will provide free COVID-19 testing and vaccine access to all attendees. 

Juneteenth Santa Barbara

The city’s annual Juneteenth celebration recognizes the history and accomplishments of Santa Barbara’s Black residents past, present, and future with free food, dancing, and music. Held outside of Shalhoob’s Funk Zone Patio, the block party will center on this year’s theme “Caring for People.” 

Juneteenth Prosperity Market @ CAAM, Los Angeles 

L.A.’s California African American Museum (CAAM) is dedicated to the preservation of African American art and culture all year round. On Juneteenth, the organization hosts a special pop-up focused on Black chefs, farmers, and creators. Shop for fresh produce, taste exceptional food, listen to live music, browse artisan goods, and even take part in a soothing sound bath.

Juneteenth: A Global Celebration of Freedom, Los Angeles 

This year, an incredible lineup of all-star artists will converge for a one-night June 19 festival at the Hollywood Bowl. Directed by Adam Blackstone and Questlove, the event features The Roots; Earth, Wind & Fire; Killer Mike; Billy Porter; Jhené Aiko; and the iconic venue’s first-ever performance by an all-Black symphony orchestra.  

The Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration 

Get in the spirit under palm trees and along waterfront walkways in Long Beach’s Rainbow Lagoon Park. The city’s Juneteenth celebration on June 18 will feature a step show, spoken word poetry, inspirational speakers—plus plenty of music, food, and fun. 

Juneteenth Celebration, Palm Springs 

Join the desert community with an activity-filled day of food, fashion, and entertainment on June 18. This year, Palm Springs welcomes Richard Pryor Jr.—actor, singer, author, and son of renowned comedian Richard Pryor. Get a taste of some of the area’s best eats with offerings from Mica’s Soul Kitchen

Cooper Family Foundation Juneteenth Freedom Festival, San Diego 

This family-friendly celebration has been a beloved San Diego tradition for more than 50 years. What started in the parking lot of the family-owned Cooper Grocery Store has since expanded to welcome thousands of people to Memorial Park in Logan Hills for a June 18 event featuring food trucks, educational speakers, local vendors, and a kid’s bicycle rodeo.

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