Here's How You Can Celebrate Juneteenth in Cincinnati

Celebrate Juneteenth with a full calendar of events, block parties and opportunities to support local Black businesses across Cincinnati.

Jun 15, 2021 at 1:17 pm
click to enlarge Juneteenth celebrations are happening all week long in Cincinnati. - Photo: Stacey Jayyy, Nappy
Photo: Stacey Jayyy, Nappy
Juneteenth celebrations are happening all week long in Cincinnati.

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that enslaved African-Americans were now free and that the Civil War had finally ended — two and a half years after U.S. President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Festivities ensued. And now more than 150 years later, June 19 or “Juneteenth” is a nationally celebrated holiday honoring the end of chattel slavery in the United States, as well as the continued fight for equality.

Last September, Hamilton County announced that Juneteenth would become an official paid holiday for county workers. And this year, there’s a full calendar of events, block parties and opportunities to support local Black businesses all over Cincinnati while you celebrate. Check out some of the events below:

In a nationwide show of unity, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will join together with nine other Black museums and historical institutions for a digital Juneteenth celebration hosted on Scheduled programming includes a video presentation at noon on June 15, which will explore the Black experience in America through historical contexts; each individual museum will present its own theme. The Freedom Center, focusing on "perseverance," will feature music from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, a spoken word performance and narration from Freedom Center historian Carl Westmoreland. Check out the BLKFreedom 2021 programming. 

Juneteenth Flag-Raising Ceremonies 

In order to commemorate the end of slavery after the Civil War, a flag will be raised atop Cincinnati City Hall at 10 a.m. June 18. The event, which will be hosted by Juneteenth Cincinnati, will feature the official Juneteenth flag designed by the National Juneteenth Observation Foundation. Learn more about the details of the flag-raising ceremony.

The Cincinnati Art Museum also raised a Juneteenth flag on June 1 at the Art Climb, and there will be a flag raising at the Hamilton County Courthouse at 11 a.m. on June 17 as well.

Juneteenth at Findlay Market

Findlay Market will kick off a two-day celebration of Juneteenth on June 18 with a panel-led discussion of the holiday with prominent community members, including Cincinnati’s Juneteenth Celebration lead organizer Lydia Morgan; Chef Jordan Anthony-Brown, owner of Elm St. Social Club; and Cincinnati Young Black Professionals board member Tim Barr. Come back 10 a.m.-6 p.m. June 19 to enjoy samples from local Black-owned restaurants. Sampling ticket packages are available at $10 for five samples or $20 for 10 samples and must be purchased in advance before June 16. All proceeds will go directly to the featured businesses. Tracy Walker will provide live music. Check out Findlay Market’s Juneteenth Tasting Event and how to score tickets. 

2021 Cincinnati Black Pride Vizazi Torch Awards 

The third annual Vizazi Torch Awards, hosted by Cincinnati Black Pride and held at Esoteric Brewing Co. at 7 p.m. June 18, will celebrate Black LGBTQ Cincinnatians. The winners, nominated in three categories, are “committed to advancing and improving the quality of life for Black Queer and Trans folks,” according to the Vizazi Awards website. The awards ceremony will be followed by a Juneteenth afterparty. Tickets start at $30. Learn more about the Vizazi Awards and Cincinnati Black Pride. 

In The Street on Juneteenth Block Party 

Head down to The Banks 4-11 p.m. June 18 from for the In The Street on Juneteenth Block Party. Hosted by Paloozanoire, an organization dedicated to supporting Black Midwestern artists and entrepreneurs, the block party will feature entertainment, fireworks, celebrations of the arts, food and more — all in the DORA district. Check out the dedicated connectivity zones for artists, families and Black female entrepreneurs. Learn more about Paloozanoire’s mission and the Juneteenth Block Party. 

Mobile Black Wall Street

You can celebrate and support Black-owned businesses in one swoop at the Mobile Black Wall Street event 2-7 p.m. June 19. Hosted in the parking lot of Esoteric Brewing Co., this outdoor festival and street fair will feature food, live entertainment and Black vendors and businesses from all over the city. Learn more about Mobile Black Wall Street. 

Art in Color at ArtScape Lebanon 

The first in a visual series dedicated to discussing the diverse cultural backgrounds of Lebanon- and Warren County-born artists, the Art in Color exhibit will first celebrate local Black artists at its official unveiling at 2 p.m. on June 19.  Check out the Art in Color series and ArtScape Lebanon.

Juneteenth Daycation

Celebrate Juneteenth at this 21+ event 3-8 p.m June 19, hosted by Newport Ultra Lounge, a Black-owned nightclub. Drink and food specials are included along with music provided by DJ DayDay and DJ Stone. Learn how to get tickets for Juneteenth Daycation. 

The Cincinnati Juneteenth Festival 

Normally celebrated in Eden Park, this year the Cincinnati Juneteenth Festival will present “Virtual Juneteenth,” a celebration consisting of two concerts to air 11 a.m.-1 p.m. June 20 on Channel 19. The performances will also be available on Youtube, Vimeo and community cable. Performers will include ZAPP Anthology, Ms. Jazz and Neva Ford Nation. Learn more about the Juneteenth festival. 

Wade in the Water

Water, which is a common theme in African-American spirituals, plays an important part in history. At 3 p.m. June 13, dancers dressed in all white will perform a simple but symbolic dance on the Cincinnati riverfront in order to “symbolize the journey from enslavement to freedom,” according to Cincinnati Juneteenth’s official website. The performance will feature choreography by David Choate of Revolution Dance Company and welcomes virtual participants. See how you can participate in Wade in the Water.