Juneteenth, which was declared a federal holiday in 2021, marks the day in 1865 when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas — nearly two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery.

The first celebration of Juneteenth took place in Texas in on June 19, 1866, and the day was commemorated with singing, reading spirituals and food. The first of the day’s annual celebration was referred to as “Jubilee Day.” 

The tradition of holding festivities on the occasion still continue, and Tampa Bay has many events lined up for the weekend around the community. Here's a list of how you can participate in the Juneteenth celebration.

Hernando County

  • The 1st Annual Juneteenth Hair and Fashion Gala will take place June 18 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Welcome Om Wellness Center at 4242 Lake in the Woods Drive in Spring Hill. Tickets are $40 each. A portion of the proceeds will be going towards a start up business fundraiser created by Transition Church. More information is available here.

Hillsborough County

  • The 2nd Annual Tampa Heights Cultural Festival: A Juneteenth Celebration will take place June 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Guests can enjoy live musical performances by local artists, as well as dancers, DJs, drummers and poets, as well as a garden tour and Tranquil Flow Yoga with Naya. Children can participate in Kids Fun Zone activities, story times and a bounce house. There will also be delicious Tampa fare prepared by top local food and beverage vendors, and works crafted by skilled artisans and local vendors. It is encouraged to bring a blanket to sit on the lawn. More details are available here.
  • The Green Book of Tampa Bay will be curating a Journey to Emancipation Art Exhibition during Second Saturday Art Walk on June 11 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Featured artists include Eb&Floww, Dr. Goggles, Myiah Pink, The Nature of Fire, Nomadic Fete, Tenea D. Johnson, Vivia Grier and Zulu Painter. The admission is free during Art Walk. Additional gallery hours are available by appointment. The art will be there through June 30. Find more information here.
  • There will be a Juneteenth Freedom Day Run on June 16 from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Short Fitness Center at 8115 Cypress Stand St. in Tampa. A quick warmup before the run will take place at 6:45 a.m. The run will incorporate colorful paint being thrown at runners, walkers or joggers. Those who participate are encouraged to wear light color clothing. More information is available here.
  • R.O.C. the Block will be holding a Juneteenth Festival at Raymond James Stadium on June 18 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., where guests can enjoy a block party atmosphere with live music from DJs, food trucks, retail shopping, a job fair and free health clinic. Tickets start at $10 each. Find more details here.
  • The Straz Center will be holding a free Arts Legacy REMIX: Second Annual Juneteenth Commemoration on June 19 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The show, which will take place at Straz Center’s Riverwalk Stage, will feature spoken remembrances, writings of historical importance and an original performance of music, poetry and dance created for this commemoration. This is a FREE event. Reservation is required for entry. Reserve your seats here.
  • The Miss Juneteenth 2022 Pageant will be held June 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Middleton High School at 4801 N. 22nd St. in Tampa. The pageant allows girls from grades middle to high school to compete in a variety of categories. Find the pageant application and additonal details here.

  • The Tampa Museum of Art, in collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Center, will be hosting their first annual Juneteenth Cultural Celebration on June 19, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.  The community will be able to enjoy  free museum admission, art-making activities, live music and performances, family portraits, food trucks and more. Reserve tickets here.

Manatee County

  • A 2022 Juneteenth Community Festival will take place on June 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the 13th Avenue Dream Center in Bradenton. Those who attend can enjoy music, food, shopping, arts and entertainment. The event will feature the Beatdown Band of Tampa, as well as other local artists. The festival is free. Find additional details here.

Pasco County

Pinellas County

  • St. Petersburg College will hold Juneteenth Festival on June 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring a vendors market with a hand-selected diverse group of local Black-owned small businesses. There will also be live entertainment from local artists throughout the event in the form of cultural performances, spoken word poetry, West African drumming and dancing, and hip-hop performers. Find more information here.

  • "The Legends Panel: The Intersection of Pride and Juneteenth" event aims to uplift the Black and Brown LGBTQ+ community by centering their voices and experiences through an educational panel on June 19 at 2 p.m. at The Factory St. Pete. There will also be local entertainment and vendors from within the community. The event is free and open to the public. Discover more info here

  • Dashiki In The City Juneteenth Community Festival is back for its 5th installment on June 18 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Gibbs High School. Guests will be able to connect with local organizations that offer services and resources for the community as well as shop with local BIPOC businesses in the area. For tickets, click here

  • The Woodson Museum of Florida and its First Ladies Society will host the Jazzy Juneteenth Jubilee on June 19 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.), a concert and lawn party featuring local, national and international musicians at the waterfront park at the Mahaffey Theater. It’s an all-white party with a “diner en blanc” flair. Tables and linen will be provided but guests are asked to create their own outdoor dining experience with their personal table décor, food and nonalcoholic beverages.  A cash bar will be available on-site. View more information here

Polk County

  • The 2022 Juneteenth Celebration in Bartow will take place June 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those who attend can enjoy food, fun, line dancing, prizes and line dancing, along with entertainment including guests artists Jay Singleton and Scott Simpkins. More information is available here.

  • Winter Haven's Juneteenth Celebration will be held at Lake Maude Park on June 18 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The festival will promote and provide an abundance of education and health resources, as well as enhancing the understanding of African American culture through visual and performing arts. There will also be , community awards, contests, games, and jazz and R&B musical acts. The event is free and open to the public. Find more details here.