12:39 AM / Sunday February 25, 2024

11 Jun 2021

Your guide to Juneteenth Celebrations in Greater Philadelphia for 2021

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June 11, 2021 Category: Entertainment Posted by:


Travel Responsibly: As the region recovers from COVID-19, safety guidelines have evolved at attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels. Mask-wearing and advance tickets or reservations remain recommended or necessary at many spots. Your best bet: Check online or call ahead.

Philly offers many ways to celebrate Juneteenth, the annual commemoration of the end of slavery in America in 1865.

Enslaved Africans in Galveston, Texas, learned on June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, that slavery was officially over in America.

Today, Juneteenth is celebrated nationwide with historical reenactments, African-inspired programming, music and dance performances, and so much more.

For 2021, for the first time ever, the City of Philadelphia’s official Fourth of July celebration — known as Wawa Welcome America — includes Juneteenth events in partnership with The African American Museum in Philadelphia, kicking off a season of independence in Philadelphia starting on June 19 and continuing through July 4.

In addition, major festivals in West Philadelphia, Germantown and Chester County, as well as events at attractions and venues like Fort Mifflin, Longwood Gardens, The Betsy Ross House and more, also offer robust programming to commemorate the anniversary.

Read on ways to celebrate Juneteenth in Philadelphia in 2021 — and stay tuned for updates to this piece as more events are announced.

Note: This article — last updated on June 4, 2021 — is arranged in chronological order.

Chester County’s Voices Underground (Elijah Milligan / Isabella Hanson — Photos courtesy Voices Underground)

01–Chester County’s Voices Underground Juneteenth Festival

May 30 – July 5, 2021 (select dates)

Chester County’s Voices Underground Juneteenth Festival encompasses more than 40 events and things to do (!) for 2021, with most events occurring between June 12 and July 5. Highlights include: a free, 90-minute walking tour in West Chester led by local author Malcolm Johnstone on abolition, the Civil War and the events that led to Juneteenth (June 5, 2021)

•  a lyrical and musical performance at Kennett Square’s Longwood Gardens by poet and professor Joshua Bennett on the topic of the journey toward freedom (June 18, 2021)

•  Isabella Hanson and poems from the winners of her “I Matter” poetry contest, followed by a lecture and Q&A with Caroline Randall Williams on “the role of the artist in the journey toward freedom,” (June 19, 2021) and

•  a three-course meal and programming at Lincoln University from Elijah Milligan, founder of the collaborative dinner series, Cooking for the Culture (June 20, 2021).

Where: Various locations including Lincoln University, 1570 Baltimore Pike, Lincoln University

02–ArtBreak at The African American Museum in Philadelphia

Thursday, June 17, 2021 | 12:30-1:30 p.m.

The African American Museum in Philadelphia kicks off several weeks of Juneteenth programming with this in-person outdoor conversation with author and University of Delaware professor Gabrielle Foreman. Foreman will speak on the historical and contemporary importance of both Juneteenth and the Fourth of July using her own research and the works of visual artist Glenn Ligon.

Where: The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street

03–Juneteenth with the Museum at the Museum of the American Revolution

June 17-21, 2021

Both in-person and virtual goings-on make up this five-day Juneteenth celebration from the Museum of the American Revolution in Old City Philadelphia. Museum-goers can explore replica objects from Harry Washington, who was enslaved by the Washingtons and freed through service in the British army. Virtual visitors can enjoy a virtual walking tour of Mother Bethel AME and performances from historical reenactors portraying Ona Judge and Elizabeth Freeman.

Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street

04–Jeffersonian Picnic: All Men Created Equal? at Fort Mifflin

Friday, June 18, 2021 | 5 p.m.

This June, South Philly’s Fort Mifflin launches its Jeffersonian Picnic series, inviting guests to bring a picnic, take in a presentation around one big idea and engage in a discussion as a group. The inaugural event, on the eve of Juneteenth, touches on the Declaration of Independence and the concept that all men are created equal,” asking hard questions around who qualifies under “all men” and the motivations behind the Founding Fathers’ vision for a new nation.

Where: Fort Mifflin, 6400 Hog Island Road

05–Juneteenth Celebration at Hatfield House

Saturday, June 19, 2021 | 2-6 p.m.

The historic Hatfield House in East Fairmount Park — located on the border between Philly’s Brewerytown and Strawberry Mansion neighborhoods — hosts this Juneteenth celebration featuring a DJ, family-friendly games, giveaways, and bites like pretzels and water ice.

Where: Hatfield House, North 33rd Street and West Girard Avenue

06–Illuminated Fountain Performances: Freedom at Longwood Gardens

June 18-19, 2021

Three nights a week from May through October, Longwood Gardens lights up its spectacular fountains for special themed nighttime shows. New for 2021, the Freedom programming — featuring music from Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Beyoncé, The Staple Singers and more — honors Juneteenth and highlights the themes of freedom, hope and strength.

Where: Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square

07–October Gallery Pop Up at Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia

June 18-20, 2021

On weekends in June, Hyatt Centric Center City hosts a series of pop ups for businesses operated by women and people of color. Over the weekend of Juneteenth, find contemporary artworks from Philly’s October Gallery, one of the oldest galleries in the U.S.

Where: Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia, 1620 Chancellor Street

08–Juneteenth with Free Museum Admission at the National Constitution Center

Saturday, June 19, 2021

It doesn’t get much better than free admission to one of Philly’s must-see museums. Pay a whopping $0 to explore the National Constitution Center on June 19, 2021, and enjoy special tours of the Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality exhibit, as well as additional programming highlighting Reconstruction-era figures like Frederick Douglass, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and more. Also on view: the rest of the attraction’s permanent offerings.

Where: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street

09–Juneteenth Programming During Flag Fest 2021 at The Betsy Ross House

Saturday, June 19, 2021

The final day of The Betsy Ross House’s Flag Fest coincides with Juneteenth this year, which means special programming at the Old City institution. The day kicks off with the raising of the Juneteenth flag by the United States Colored Troops, followed by a historical visit from Bishop Richard Allen, who founded Philly’s Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in 1794. Bonus: The first 100 people to show up get free admission to the attraction.

Where: The Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street

10–Juneteenth Celebration at the Please Touch Museum

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Philly’s ever-popular children’s museum encourages guests to make a reservation for a visit on Juneteenth to celebrate the holiday with special programming. Kiddos and their parents can learn about Freedom Quilts and create a quilt square; hear stories and songs about Juneteenth and the struggle for equality; and listen to music during a celebratory pretend “cook out.”

Where: Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic

11–Juneteenth Fashion Show in Vernon Park

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Germantown’s Vernon Park serves as the site of this Juneteenth Fashion Show. In addition to multiple 30-minute fashion shows, guests can look forward to a bounce house, a DJ, a gaming truck and a drum line, plus snacks like popcorn, water ice and cotton candy.

Where: Vernon Park, 5800 Germantown Avenue

Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade & Festival (Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia)

12–Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival

Saturday, June 19, 2021 | 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Launched locally in 2016, the annual Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade & Festival has grown into a daylong event. This year, attendees can head to West Philadelphia for a Freedom Day March, a rally program, an exhibit and vendor fair, a self-guided culture tour and more, with complementary programming available online. (Note that the parade won’t happen in 2021 due to the pandemic.)

Where: Various locations including Malcolm X Park, 5100 Pine Street

13–Juneteenth Celebration at The African American Museum in Philadelphia

Saturday, June 19, 2021 | 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

For the first time ever, the City of Philadelphia’s official Fourth of July celebration — known as Wawa Welcome America — includes Juneteenth events in partnership with The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP). The museum’s Juneteenth event features a five-hour outdoor celebration. Live performances, local vendors and activities await, as does timed entry to the museum, where guests can explore the attraction’s core exhibition, Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia, 1776-1876, as well as a new special exhibition from artist Anna Russell Jones. The fest also hosts the first of this year’s Go 4th & Learn, where families can enjoy make-and-take activities and snag a free book courtesy of Books in Homes USA.

Where: The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street

Johnson House Historic Site (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

14– Juneteenth Festival in Historic Germantown

Saturday, June 19, 2021 | 1-5 p.m.

Historic Germantown celebrates Juneteenth during its 15th annual Juneteenth Festival. Hosted by the Johnson House Historic Site, the annual (and free!) fest features a day of educational activities and entertainment on the 6300 block of Germantown Avenue, including live music, children’s activities, food trucks and historic reenactments. Note that masks are required for 2021.

Where: 6300 block of Germantown Avenue

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