Discover everything you need to know about the Houston and Galveston celebrations of the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth and the 158th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with our handy guide to 2021 Juneteenth celebrations in Houston.
This year marks the 156th anniversary of the date that news of the Emancipation Proclamation first reached Texas and was read aloud in Galveston on June 19, 1865—two years after it had become U.S. law.
In celebration of that day, the Greater Houston and Galveston areas host a number of festivals, events, and commemorations that we’ve gathered in this guide to plan your Juneteenth weekend.
Juneteenth Celebrations in Houston & Galveston
- Juneteenth Weekend Celebration in Baytown | Friday, June 18 & Saturday, June 19 | FREE – The two-day celebration kicks off Juneteenth weekend and features a Friday pre-party with local worship groups, former Dallas Cowboys player Greg Ellis, and more at Town Square. Then, on Saturday at Bicentennial Park, music takes center stage with performances from J. Paul Jr. and the Zydeco Nubreeds, Bun B, and more. Times vary.
- Blaque Tcheriee: The Beginning of the Black Pinup Girl Movie Screening | Friday, June 18 to Sunday, June 20 – In conjunction with Juneteenth weekend, the world premiere of this film from Vincent Victoria dramatizes the founding of the first African American girlie magazine. $20. Times and locations vary.
Juneteenth, June 19, 2021
- Mo’ Better Brews Grand Opening in Museum District | No Cover – The creators of Houston Sauce Co. open their brand new vegan breakfast and coffee shop, featuring a curated vinyl collection from Houston DJ and ethnomusicologist, Flash Gordon Parks. 7:30am to 6pm.
- Juneteenth Freedom Ride at Carnegie Vanguard High School – Hop on two wheels and take a tour of Houston’s oldest African American communities in Freedmen’s Town, Independence Heights, and Third Ward. This 20-mile celebratory ride travels at a casual pace and begins in Freedmen’s Town at the Carnegie Vanguard High School campus. $10, plus fees. 9am.
- 42nd Annual Al Edwards Celebration & Emancipation Proclamation Reading at 1859 Ashton Villa in Galveston | FREE – Take in a live reading of General Order No. 3, which declared that all slaves in the U.S. were now free on the original Juneteenth, at the island’s official Juneteenth holiday monument at the historic Ashton Villa. 10am.
- Juneteenth in the 5th: Freedom of Expression Market at the DeLuxe Theater | FREE – The historic Fifth Ward theater hosts an indoor/outdoor market featuring Black-owned businesses and vendors, as well as live music and performances. 10am to 2pm.
- 41st Annual Pan-African Cultural Festival at S.H.A.P.E. Community Center | FREE – The Third Ward community center hosts this family-friendly outdoor event that features live music, food trucks, local vendors, African drum and dance performance, and activities for children. 10am to 6pm.
- Juneteenth Tradition: Meal Distribution at Emancipation Park | FREE – Lucille’s 1913, H-E-B, and Coca-Cola are partnering with Emancipation Park Conservancy for a distribution of 2000 meals to the community as part of its Juneteenth celebration. Free and open to the public, but requires registration. 11am to 1pm.
- Juneteenth Festival Family Fun Day in Freedmen’s Town | FREE – The Freedmen’s Town Farmer’s Market is helping host a Juneteenth celebration that features food, sno-cones, bounce houses and water slides for kiddos, and a chili cook-off. 11am to 4pm.
- Juneteenth Absolute Equality Mural Dedication in Galveston | FREE – The Juneteenth Legacy Project dedicates the newest vivid mural from artist Reginald C. Adams, adorned across the wall of the Osterman Building on 19th Street where General Order No. 3 was read aloud. This event will also include speakers and performers, including Senator John Cornyn and U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee. 11:30am.
- Juneteenth Black Wall Street Fest at Hilton Houston Plaza in the Medical Center | FREE – Shop from Black-owned vendors offering up everything from bath and body to arts and crafts, munch on brunch bites, network at a local job fair, and enjoy live music and more at the scenic rooftop of the Hilton Houston Plaza in Med Center. Free with RSVP; $40 for an optional brunch and mimosas buffet, with limited brunches discounted to $20. Noon to 4pm.
- BLCK Market Juneteenth Celebration at Buffalo Soldiers National Museum – Celebrate Juneteenth and shop for last minute Father’s Day gifts at this 2nd annual event from BLCK Market, which brings together dozens of Black-owned small businesses and local vendors for the public to shop. $5. 1pm to 5pm.
- Galveston Island Juneteenth Festival at Kermit Courville Stadium | FREE – This celebration of freedom on the Island invites the public to check out food vendors, Black artists, entrepreneurs, and enjoy live music and other family friendly activities. 2pm to 7pm.
- Emancipation Park Conservancy presents #WeAreJuneteenth: A Virtual Celebration | FREE | Virtual – Tune in for a music lineup featuring DJs Chilly Bill Smith and Rob G, R&B vibes from Vincent Powell and Nakitta Clegg-Foxx, and a community performance finale—plus, prize giveaways throughout the program. Registration required. 3pm to 4:30pm.
- Emancipation Avenue Market at the Historic Eldorado Ballroom | FREE – Across from Emancipation Park on Elgin Street, this free community event offers art, food, local vendors, and plenty of family fun to celebrate Juneteenth and support businesses and the community of Third Ward. 4pm to 8pm.
- Reedy Chapel’s Annual Historic Juneteenth March Re-enactment at Old Galveston Courthouse | FREE – Recalling the first celebration of emancipation in 1866 that brought a group of over 800 men, women, and children marching down the streets, Reedy Chapel A.M.E. Church commemorates the event with a march re-enactment where the public is free to join in on the 3.5-block walk from the Old Galveston County Courthouse to the Church on Broadway Avenue. 6pm.
- 18th Annual Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration: Concert in the Park at Hunters Glen Park | FREE – Jaye Hammer, Bel-Ami, Evette Busby, and others highlight the annual concert celebration of Juneteenth in Missouri City. 7pm.
- Juneteenth Fireworks above Galveston Island | FREE – Bask in a special Saturday night Juneteenth fireworks show over Galveston, celebrating the newly designated national holiday. 8:30pm.
- A Gulf Coast Juneteenth featuring Bobby Rush at Miller Outdoor Theatre | FREE | Virtual Option – The annual blues and Creole festival returns to Miller Outdoor with a living blues legend in the Grammy-winning, storytelling bluesman, Bobby Rush, who will take to the stage with his gritty vocals and impressive harmonica chops. The performance can also be viewed on Miller Outdoor’s YouTube. Seating in the covered area requires tickets that can be reserved online; seating on the hill is free and open to the public. 8:30pm.
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