As the weekend approaches, it is a special one for some of us, and we will be looking to celebrate. Way back long before any of us were born, African Americans gained their independence from slavery on June 19th, 1865 when word reached the last captured slave. This day is the longest African American holiday and is known as Juneteenth. The celebrations have become a staple of our culture as the years go on.

Just last year in 2021 did President Joe Biden choose to honor and label Juneteenth as a national holiday and this year will be one of the first true years that the day will be celebrated as a national holiday. With the recent developments in the last couple years, expectations for this year's Juneteenth are high. This upcoming weekend will not disappoint as their is a blockbuster lineup of events scheduled to take place all over Kalamazoo.

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Friday Fun

Friday is starting the weekend off on a chill, informational, and cultural tone. Friday only has one event and they are choosing to educate about Juneteenth with the topics of ancestry for all and Emancipation celebrations and Michigan's role in the freedom of slaves. This is a virtual event that starts at 12pm with ancestry for all and 3pm for Emancipation celebrations and Michigan's role, setting the precedent for a fun and culture filled weekend in Kalamazoo.

Saturday Celebrations

Saturday is when the party really starts, with the warm weather coming this weekend expect to have a blast as you move around the city celebrating Juneteenth. Make your way to downtown to Bronson Park shortly after breakfast as there will be a celebration full of free food, entertainment, liberation, and fun starting at noon. Shortly after this kicks off, you can make the short walk down Rose St. to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum for a Black Film Fest from 1:30-3:30pm.

Followed by the Trinity Prep Center Showstoppers performing at the Comstock Community Auditorium at 2pm, tickets are on sale now for $10 and tickets will be sold at the door for $15.Lastly, to end the night out, there will be a celebration at The Xperience from 7-11pm where there will be free food, music, dancing, entertainment and more.

Sunday Stroll

Sunday is the day that the weekend is all about, Juneteenth, an important day to the entire African American population. Expect this day to be filled with knowledge, liberation, culture, and fun all over the city. Things get started just as early as they did on Saturday, but end a little earlier. You may choose to attend all of these events or just one, but they all start around the same time and end at varying time. The first two events start at noon while the last event starts at 1pm.

There is an event that will feature DC and the DC Quintet with special guest DJ Boogie at Bells Eccentric Café starting at noon and live music kicking off at 2pm until the event is over at 4pm, while at the same time in the Washington Square neighborhood there will be a celebration event that will have live music from Santino Jones, games and activities for all age groups, and vendors like Ty's Joint and Twine Urban Winery, and so much more to enjoy until 8pm. The last event kicks off at 1pm at the Arcadia Creek Festival Site and will include mostly dance and music performances from many groups, along with food, drinks, and other activities up until 6pm.

This weekend is a chance for us to learn and remember what our ancestors went through to obtain the freedom that we possess today. This weekend will be filled with culture, love, fellowship, food, entertainment, drinks, liberation, and so much more, and we as an African American community deserve to enjoy it. So don't sit at home watching tv all day, get out and enjoy all the events for Juneteenth weekend.

Murals from Kalamazoo's Wall Crawl