SUN VILLAGE – Thousands will converge on Jackie Robinson Park this weekend for the 17th Annual Sun Village Juneteenth celebration.
Juneteenth is an unofficial holiday observed nationwide by millions of African Americans, primarily in the southern states, to commemorate the freeing of the slaves on United States soil. Juneteenth celebrates June 19, 1865, when word that President Abraham Lincoln had freed the slaves reached Galveston, Texas, one of the last footholds of slavery in the United States.
“In some places, people have no idea what Juneteenth is all about,” said event chair Moses Primus. “But in this particular area, we have a lot people with roots in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, so consequently, the celebration takes on an added meaning out here.”
Juneteenth is one of the most popular celebrations for African Americans in the Antelope Valley, Primus said.
This year’s celebration takes place from Friday, June 15 to Sunday, June 17. The three-day event will feature a pageant, a children’s carnival, a petting zoo, water games, a car show, a basketball tournament, numerous exhibits and all-day entertainment to include hip hop, gospel, R & B and jazz.
There will be live musical performances by numerous local artists, including Plushlyfe, Mini Mommas, Jamaal Brown, Guerilla Beast, AVC Dancers, Culture Motives and many others.
Primus said the event will also feature a generous helping of soul food.
“Our vendors will be providing various kinds of ethnic foods on all three days,” he said. “We also have vendors selling jewelry, clothing, music and other different items.”
The Juneteenth celebration kicks off around 5 p.m. Friday, June 15 with the Ms. Juneteenth Pageant. Festivities will continue until 10 p.m.
On Saturday, festivities begin at 10 a.m. The official opening ceremony will start at 2 p.m., and will feature this year’s Grand Marshal, Bishop Henry Hearns, posting of the colors by Buffalo Soldiers, with the national anthem sung by Sereen Smith. Concerts will continue throughout the day, featuring different performances every half hour, until around 10 p.m.
Sunday’s Juneteenth events are dubbed “A Father’s Day of Praise.” The event begins at 8:30 a.m. with Sunday Service in the park by Bishop Henry Hearns. There will be a second Sunday service at 10 a.m. with Pastor Hughes. Entertainment will continue throughout the day until around 8 p.m.
View a complete line-up of the weekend’s events here.
The 17th Annual Sun Village Juneteenth celebration is presented by the Friends of Jackie Robinson Park and LA County Parks and Recreation.
All festivities take place at the Jackie Robinson Park, located at 8773 East Avenue R (at 90th Street East) in Sun Village. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
Proceeds generated from the event will fund scholarships for one graduating high school senior and one Antelope Valley College student looking to transfer to a four-year university.
For more information, call 661-944-2880.