Delaware Juneteenth celebrations run through June 29

Jarek RutzCulture, Headlines


Delaware has a number of Juneteenth celebrations beginning this Saturday. (Freepik)

The First State is holding a number of festivals, concerts and services among its Juneteenth celebrations.

They run through Wednesday, June 29, where Christina Cultural Arts Center will hold a talent show.

Juneteenth, short for June 19, is a holiday that celebrates the day in 1865 on which Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his officers arrived in Galveston, Texas to free any remaining slaves.

It was two months after the Civil War had ended, and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln. 

The date became a national holiday in 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, making the day America’s 12th federal holiday. 

Here’s what’s in store:


  • The Delaware Art Museum will host a Beyond Juneteenth Egungun Festival Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will start with a Juneteenth flag raising ceremony, live music performances, food trucks, arts and craft vendors. “Egungun” is a South West Nigerian masquerade that represents a connection between the living and dead worlds. Admission is free.
  • The Delaware Museum of Nature & Science will host their second annual Juneteenth Entrepreneurial Expo Saturday, June 18 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Organized by Women with a Vision, the event will have shopping, food trucks, a live DJ, prizes and giveaways, and a live performance by Best Kept Soul. Tickets  are $20 and can be bought here.
  • A “Joke-Istory” event will take place at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18th  at The Delaware Art Museum where people can watch a stand-up comedy show. Performers such as Charles Walden. Keith Purnell, Dante Carter and Mike Bonner will take the stage. Attendees must be 21+ to enter. Tickets cost $25 if they are purchased online but $45 if purchased at the door. Seating is general admission and on a first come first served basis. 
  • Choir School of Delaware will be performing a concert June 19 at 11 a.m. at Wilmington Friends Meeting House. This is part of their “STAND UP: HARRIET TUBMAN” tour that is June 17-21. All their concerts during this tour are free with no registration required. The other concerts, which are in Pa., can be found here.
  • Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site, 961 Old Baltimore Pike, will host an outdoor celebration at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 19. The event will feature keynote speakers and music performances. Registration is required and can be done here. Parking is limited, and the event will also be livestreamed.
  • Tabernacle Full Gospel Baptist, in Wilmington, will host a Juneteenth Day of Observance Sunday, June 19 at 4 p.m. 
  • The Historic Odessa Foundation will open its Underground Railroad exhibit and tour, “Freedom Seekers: The Odessa Story,” Sunday, June 19. The Corbit-Sharp house, home to a noted Quaker abolitionist, w2as one of the stops and the location of a near-miss.
  • The YMCA of Delaware will open all branches for free June 19 and 20 to celebrate Juneteenth, with special events. They include Walnut Street YMCA Block Party June 18, noon to 4 p.m.; Bear-Glasgow YMCA Ice-Cream Truck, June 20, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.; Western YMCA Party: June 19, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Middletown YMCA Crafts for Kids, June 20, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 AM; Sussex Family YMCA Barbecue, June 20, 11 a.m.– 1 p.m.
  • The Juneteenth Freedom Festival will be held in Tubman-Garrett Park on Rosa Parks Drive in Wilmington. The festival is Monday, June 20 at noon, and admission is free.
  • The Grand Opera House will host the 25th annual Delaware Juneteenth Pageant Sunday, June 26 at 5 p.m. People between ages 15 and 18 can participate. The Black Catholic Ministry of the Diocese of Wilmington will host a Juneteenth celebration at St. Joseph’s Church, 1012 N. French Street in Wilmington on June 29 at 6:30 p.m. with the theme of “Resilience Through Faith: Songs of Our Journey.” The event will feature keynote speaker Father Stephen D. Thorne.
  • Christina Cultural Arts Center is hosting a “Male Juneteenth Talent Showcase” Wednesday, June 29 at 7 p.m. The event is open to all ages and costs $5 to enter. Young male contestants ages eight to 18 will have a chance to perform their talents for a chance to win $500 cash. Tickets can be purchased here.

Jarek Rutz can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz and on LinkedIn.

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