Juneteenth community events will celebrate, raise awareness of new federal holiday

Celebrating Juneteenth is new for some; a long-standing tradition for others.

Lexington residents have celebrated Juneteenth for many years with events at both African Cemetery No. 2 and the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden. This year, in addition to both of those events, there are several new celebrations planned.

Juneteenth became an official federal holiday last year. Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day. It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States – the June 19th holiday honors the day all of the enslaved in the U.S. were legally freed.

“We are excited to support various community events happening throughout our city on Juneteenth weekend. These celebrations will give people new ways to enjoy the holiday, and opportunities to learn more about its meaning,” Mayor Linda Gorton said.

Councilmember James Brown said, “With this being the first year the City has really been able to celebrate Juneteenth as a national holiday, it is important that we support a variety of local grassroots Juneteenth events and celebrations.”

Events highlighting the celebration in Lexington:

  • Soulteenth will kick things off at Moondance Amphitheater on June 18 with a celebration of black liberation and ingenuity through music, art, agriculture, and food.
  • Immediately following will be the 17th Annual Juneteenth Jubilee at African Cemetery No. 2. It highlights the spirit of freedom and honors the Civil War soldiers who fought for it.
  • On June 19, a Juneteenth Festival will take place at Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden. The festival will include vendors, entertainment, kids’ activities, and community fellowship celebrating Black liberation.
  • On the evening of June 19, a Juneteenth Celebration will take place at Douglass Park from 5 – 7 p.m., and include food, inflatables and music.
  • Capping off the celebration will be the Affrilachian Poets Literary Event at the Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center. The event features acclaimed members of the Affrilachian Poets. Hosts for the evening will be Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson and former Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X. Walker.



Saturday, June 18
Moondance Amphitheater – 1152 Monarch St.
Noon – 7 p.m.

Juneteenth Jubilee
African Cemetery No. 2 – 419 E. Seventh St.
7 – 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 19
Juneteenth Festival
Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden – 577 E. Third St.
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Juneteenth Celebration
Douglass Park – 726 Georgetown St.
5 – 9 p.m.

Juneteenth Independence Day Celebration
Affrilachian Poets Literary Event

Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center – 300 E. Third St.
7 p.m.

Visit lexingtonky.gov/juneteenth for more information about the events and activities happening throughout the weekend across Lexington.