RACE, RELIGION + SOCIAL JUSTICE

Where you can celebrate Juneteenth this weekend in Utah

Jun 16, 2023, 5:00 PM

several people are pictured behind a raised juneteenth flag in utah , tis is juneteenth weekend...

Betty Sawyer, with the Utah Juneteenth Festival and Holiday Committee, speaks as she joins Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and leaders from the Black community, City Council, law enforcement and the state to raise the Juneteenth flag at the Salt Lake City-County Building on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is celebrating Juneteenth for its second year as a state holiday. With so many reasons to celebrate this historic day, there are dozens of festivals and events open to the public across the state.

Utah will honor Juneteenth through art, food, education and music in the days leading up to the holiday.

City-wide events

Juneteenth Freedom Festival

The Ogden Amphitheater is hosting its 34th annual Freedom Festival. The free events take place on Saturday, June 17, and Sunday, June 18, at noon. In addition to the live music, dance, food, and performances will be educational exhibits and activities for the family. 

Salt Lake Juneteenth Celebration & Black Owned Business Expo

This free all-day event is commemorating Juneteenth from ‘Noon to Dusk.’ Among the many activities taking place at The Gateway on June 19 is a showcase of Utah’s many Black-owned businesses, performing artists, and artist exhibits. 

Millcreek Juneteenth Freedom Day Celebration

If you’re near Millcreek, stop by the Juneteenth celebration at Millcreek Common on June 18 from 4-10 p.m. This celebration will honor Juneteenth through art, music, and culture. Stop by to take part in a fashion show, food trucks, art gallery, live performances, and more. 

Riverton Juneteenth Celebration

Riverton is celebrating Black culture and the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. on June 17. You can stop by the Salt Lake County library to participate in a scavenger hunt, craft, and a group art project. Visitors are welcome any time between 2-5 p.m.

Community-hosted events

Juneteenth Cookout and Games

Also in Riverton is the Juneteenth Cookout and Games, put together by Common Thread Utah. This event takes place on June 24 from 4-7 p.m. Join others at this free event to enjoy (you guessed it) a cookout and games, as well as music and some special guests. 

Juneteenth Freedom Day Music Festival 

Salt Lake Community College is putting together a music festival to honor Juneteenth on Tues. 20. Stop by the Alder Amphitheater in Taylorsville from 6-9 p.m. to check out the entertainment, performances, food, and more. 

Flag-Raising Ceremony

In honor of the holiday, the University of Utah’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will host a flag-raising ceremony at the Park Building at 9 a.m. Anyone is welcome to attend and hear remarks by Betty Sawyer, president of the Ogden NAACP, and a keynote address by Utah Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake, sponsor of the bill to make Juneteenth a state holiday and the first Black woman to serve in the Utah Legislature.

Brunch for The Culture

Sundays are for brunch, so check out the party hosted by Utah Jazz reporter Nayo Campbell and artist Nailah Mansa on June 18. All are welcome to celebrate the Black community in Utah through food, cocktails, karaoke, and more. The party will be at Flanker Kitchen and Sporting Club at 1:30.

African American Heritage: Poetry, Garden Tea, Fashion

Presented by the International Peace Gardens, the African American Heritage is hosting an elegant afternoon full of poetry, tea, and fashion. It’s free admission to the poetry recital from 2-3 p.m. and the fashion show that starts at three. Tickets to the tea ceremony from 3-6 p.m. are $15. All three events take place on June 17.

Juneteenth Gallery Talk

If you’re in southern Utah, check out the Gallery Talk at Southern Utah University on June 19 from 4-5 p.m. Visitors will follow Assistant Direct of Curatorial Affairs, Dr. Becky Bloom, on a tour of the exhibition A Dream Deferred: New Perspectives on Black Experience in the Work of Aïsha Lehmann and Vitus Shell.

Staying at home?

If you’re not looking to get out on your day off, don’t worry. Juneteenth isn’t just a celebration, it can be a time of learning and recognition. Take this weekend to learn more about Juneteenth’s history and Black history in America. This can come in any form from podcasts, to movies, to articles. 

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Where you can celebrate Juneteenth this weekend in Utah