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Henrico to present 3rd-annual Juneteenth Celebration on June 17 at Dorey Park

Music, historical displays, fireworks will commemorate African American freedom in US

 Henrico County will celebrate Juneteenth – also known as “Emancipation Day” or “Day of Freedom” – on Saturday, June 17, with a day of family fun and entertainment at Dorey Park, featuring live performances, a vendor fair, historical and educational exhibits, a kids’ zone and fireworks. 

The third-annual Henrico County Juneteenth Celebration will honor the events of June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers delivered word to enslaved people in Galveston, Texas that they had been freed under President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of Jan. 1, 1863. Some of those who had been enslaved and their descendants returned to Galveston annually on June 19 to celebrate their “Day of Freedom.” A federal holiday since 2021 and now a Henrico County holiday, Juneteenth National Independence Day is considered the United States’ second Independence Day.

The Dorey Park event, presented by the Division of Recreation & Parks, is free and open to the public, with entertainment and activities scheduled from 4 to 10 p.m.

From 4 to 8 p.m., the event will feature a vendor fair of Black-owned businesses; a kids’ zone; stories of historical freedom fighters; and special exhibitions by Joint Base Andrews and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Throughout the event, the Juneteenth Celebration will include food trucks and performances by community groups, local drumlines, Akoma De Gado, Desirée Roots, Bak N Da Day, and a concert by Mighty Joshua at 8 p.m. The festivities will culminate with a fireworks finale at 9:45 p.m.

“Juneteenth represents a turning point in our nation’s history that is worthy of celebration, reflection and understanding,” said John Zannino, director of Recreation & Parks. “Just as we do for Independence Day and with other signature events, Henrico County is proud to present a free, family-friendly event that will be uplifting, entertaining and memorable for our entire community.”

Recreation & Parks will hold two neighborhood block parties to kick off the county’s Juneteenth celebrations.

A carnival-themed block party will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 3 at Fairfield Middle School, 5121 Nine Mile Road. The event will feature a DJ, inflatables, community resource vendors, a dunk tank, prizes and concessions for purchase.

A backyard BBQ block party will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 9 at Hidden Creek Park, 2417 Brockway Lane. The event will feature a DJ, rock-climbing wall, game room, inflatables, scavenger hunt and community gardening project.

Details on the celebrations, including tips on what to bring and directions to Dorey Park, are online.

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