Harrisburg will honor freedom and Black culture at a festival this weekend.
The city will hold its first Juneteenth Celebration, in collaboration with Dauphin County, on June 18, featuring music, food trucks, vendors and performers.
“Juneteenth is not only a chance to say it loud—we are Black and we are proud—but we are educating everyone about Black culture and heritage in the city of Harrisburg,” Mayor Wanda Williams said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The holiday, on June 19, commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States.
The celebration will take place in front of the MLK City Government Center downtown from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Food trucks will be on site, along with local vendors and craft artisans. Members of the PA Living History Interpreters Past Players will attend dressed in period clothing. Other entertainment will be provided by youth band FAME Jazz Ensemble and local artist collective The Singer’s Lounge. Harrisburg rapper Loe Badgett will perform his new song, “Break the Cycle,” about stopping gun violence in the city, as well.
To kick off the event, UPMC will get people moving with a 5K walk at 8 a.m., followed by dance and exercise activities. The programming is part of its Healthy Harrisburg initiative aimed at removing barriers to health care. UPMC will also offer blood pressure checks, COVID tests and COVID booster shots.
N. 2nd Street, from Market to Walnut streets, will be closed to vehicle traffic from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In addition to the city’s festival, Young Professionals of Color-Greater Harrisburg is holding Juneteenth HBG, with events taking place all week.
“Not only is this going to be packed with historical references and the idea of bringing people together around a critically important issue and holiday, and breaking down walls and barriers, but it’s also about having a little fun,” said Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick.
For more information about the Juneteenth Celebration, visit the city’s website.
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