Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. And for Berkeley this is a particularly special year, as on Sunday, June 24 the city’s annual Juneteenth Festival will be celebrating its Silver Anniversary.
The festivities, which run from 10am to 6pm, take place along Adeline Street, between Ashby and Alcatraz streets, and include a dynamic lineup of entertainers and performers with a vast array of blues, jazz, reggae and new school music, along with a multitude of arts, crafts, cultural events and ethnic foods. Berkeleyside will be there too to enjoy the celebrations, and as an official media sponsor.
This year’s festival theme is: “We’re Still Standing!” — a testament to how long the festival has been held for residents throughout the Bay Area. “Many black festivals have come and gone over the years,” said Delores Nochi Cooper, Festival Publicity Chair. “However, the Berkeley Juneteenth Festival has been steadfast in its longevity to mark the celebration, and recognize this important historical event in the lives of African Americans.”
Twenty-four years ago, co-founders Sam Dyke and his late-partner R.D. Bonds canvassed the community who recommended that something should be done to bring consciousness back to the community. From that, Juneteenth in Berkeley evolved.
“Juneteenth is a cultural day in celebration of all the many contributions that we as a people have made in America,” said Dyke, owner of People’s Bazaar. “Juneteenth has a black significance, and those of us who celebrate Juneteenth look at this celebration the same way others look at the Fourth of July.”
Festival-goers are encouraged to take BART using Ashby station to get to the festival. For more information about the Berkeley Juneteenth Festival, call (510) 655-8008 or visit Berkeley Juneteenth.
To find out about more events in Berkeley and nearby, visit Berkeleyside’s Events Calendar. We also encourage you to submit your own events.