Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

A Time to Celebrate, Reflect: Juneteenth events kick off in Harrisburg

A Juneteenth Father’s Day Fest will be held at the Broad Street Market this weekend.

There are big plans for Harrisburg this weekend as the community gears up to celebrate the holiday that recognizes the end of slavery in America.

Juneteenth isn’t until Saturday, but local organizations have festivities planned as early as Thursday. Whether you’re looking to sit back and relax, shop or enjoy a cookout, there are no shortage of ways to celebrate the holiday.

Two years ago, Gov. Tom Wolf declared Juneteenth a holiday in the state. This past year, Juneteenth followed the death of George Floyd and the subsequent nationwide protests. This year, event organizers hope the holiday is a time of celebration, reflection and rest.

The Young Professionals of Color-Greater Harrisburg (YPOC) will host one of the bigger events, a Juneteenth Jubilee at Reservoir Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Bridge will co-host the event, which will feature local business owners, speakers and performers.

YPOC co-founder Dr. Kimeka Campbell hopes the day will be one of celebration, but also remembrance.

“It’s a holiday to remember all the difficulty that brought us to the point of having to fight for freedom,” she said. “It’s a call to the dominant culture to say that even though we are celebrating freedom, there’s still so much to do.”

Mikell Simpson of nonprofit Capital Rebirth also wants to encourage reflection on the history of the day through a virtual panel discussion on Thursday. Speakers, including local government officials and historians, will talk about what Juneteenth means to Harrisburg. Simpson said that they will highlight the city’s Old 8th Ward, a historically Black and immigrant neighborhood that was demolished when the state Capitol was expanded.

“We want to start with education on the history,” he said. “I think people are aware of the holiday, but I don’t think people know the history. I just started learning more about Juneteenth two years ago.”

Capital Rebirth will also host a happy hour on Friday at the District Bar & Lounge on N. 3rd Street. On Saturday, they are hosting a kids’ storytime at Good Brothas Book Café, a career workshop at the Girls & Boys Club of Harrisburg and a cookout at Sunshine Park.

“People are coming together and getting creative and showcasing all that the Black community has to offer,” Simpson said.

Below are a list of Juneteenth events happening in Harrisburg:

June 17

June 18

  • Capital Rebirth’s Happy Hour at District Bar & Lounge—4 p.m.
  • La Cultura’s Minding My Black-Owned Business Block Party—7 to 10 p.m.
  • YPOC and La Cultura’s Restaurant Crawl—6:30 p.m., ticketed event

June 19

  • Coffee and book reading at Good Brothas Book Café—9 a.m.
  • Capital Rebirth’s Career Workshops at Boys and Girls Club of Harrisburg—12 to 1 p.m.
  • Cookout with Capital Rebirth at Sunshine Park—4 to 7 p.m.
  • YPOC Juneteenth Cookout at Hurston Manor—5 p.m.
  • Juneteenth Father’s Day Fest at Broad Street Market—11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Harrisburg’s Juneteenth Jubilee at Reservoir Park—11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

June 20

  • Juneteenth Father’s Day Fest at Broad Street Market—11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Juneteenth Lunch and Learn with Harrisburg Comprehensive Plan Community Working Group—12 p.m., Facebook Live

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