Greater Lansing celebrates Juneteenth with a weekend full of events
Juneteenth weekend celebrations in Lansing are set to begin Thursday evening. Events include the city’s African American Parade, festivals, music, food and more.
The holiday commemorates when news reached Galveston, Texas, in 1865 of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing Black enslaved people, more than two years after its signing. Juneteenth became a federal holiday last year.
Here’s a look at some of the events happening this weekend:
- The Lansing Juneteenth Celebration Weekend Kick-off Ceremony and Essay Competition at Lansing Community College begins at 6 p.m. The event features Ingham County Chief Probate Judge Shauna Dunnings as the keynote speaker. Winners of the Dr. Eva L. Evans Essay Competition and Scholarship Program will be announced.
- The 517 Juneteenth Weekend - Comedy Jam featuring Robert Jenkins, Stellana, and Jahshua Smith at the Robin Theatre begins at 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Event is sold out.
- The Lansing Juneteenth Freedom Festival starts at 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with Family Night at St. Joseph Park. Activities include food, vendors, public service exhibitors, and music by DJ Rob Newsome, Hustle Zone with Sheila Carter.
- Michigan State University's Juneteenth Celebration starts at 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with festivities until 8:30 p.m. at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
- Juneteenth Ice Cream Social at Riverview Church parking lot in REO town begins at 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Free ice cream sandwiches and popsicles will be available from Sweet Encounter bakery. The event features music and beak dancing by All of the Above Hip-Hop.
- A Juneteenth Mixer at the Cadillac Room in REO Town will start at 7:30 p.m to 10:30 p.m.
- The African American Parade begins at 11 a.m. The starting point will be at J.W. Sexton High School, on 102 S. McPherson Avenue. This year's Grand Marshals are Willard Walker and U.S. Congresswoman Elisa Slotkin.
- The Freedom Festival at St. Joseph Park will resume from noon to 8 p.m. following the parade. An opening celebration will feature guests including Rev. Dr. A . Richard Doss, Rev. DeBorah Hold-Foster, Pastor PJ Anderson and Dr. Willie Davei, and Mayor Andy Schor. Other activities include a job fair, a health fair, informational booths and various vendors.
- The 517 Juneteenth Festival will open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. in REO Town on South Washington Avenue. The free event features a lineup of live musical performances including Black Milk and the Nat Turner Band, a battle of the BBQ, Black-owned vendors, a kid zone, and more.
- Juneteenth Jazz Night at the Cadillac Room in Lansing, Music starts at 6:30 p.m. and goes until 8:30 p.m. Musical guests include 496 West, The Corzo Effect.