Here are 20 Juneteenth-themed events happening in Tampa Bay, from cultural festivals to political action

Each year, the federal holiday celebrates 1865's emancipation of Black slaves.

click to enlarge Best-Richardson African Diaspora Literature & Culture Museum used to host a local celebration. The museum is now located in St. Augustine. - Kimberly DeFalco
Best-Richardson African Diaspora Literature & Culture Museum used to host a local celebration. The museum is now located in St. Augustine.
Juneteenth—also known as Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day—is a federal holiday honored nationwide to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States. Almost three months after the end of the Civil War and 901 days after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, Texas were informed of their liberation on June 19, 1865.

While Texas is geographically pretty far from the Sunshine State, Tampa Bay-based organizations, churches and local governments are celebrating Juneteenth and what it represents in a variety of different ways this month—from religious gatherings and pageants to food and art festivals and political action.

Here are 20 Juneteenth-themed events, celebrations and educational demonstrations happening in Tampa Bay this month. All events are free to attend unless marked otherwise.

Juneteenth Day of Action Hosted by local religious and community-focused organization Faith in Florida, this St. Petersburg event celebrates Black history while demanding the leaders of The ‘Burg “ keep the Gas Plant district city-owned to ensure a Black future in St. Pete.Thursday, June 15. 6 p.m. St Petersburg City Hall, 175 5th St. N, St.Petersburg.

Juneteenth’s Raise the Flag Ceremony & Festival The City of Tampa raises the red, green and black African-American flag at City Hall, and a festival full of vendors, food trucks, and family-friendly fun takes place at Lykes Gaslight Square Park right after. The city will also ask its Black residents for their oral histories as a part of its “Soul Walk” project. The mayor has apologized for the city’s role in erasing Black cemeteries; perhaps this is the summer she’ll apologize for harm done to some of Tampa’s Black community via Tampa Police Department’s “Biking While Black” and crime-free multi housing programs, or the Arthur Green Jr. family, too. Friday, June 16. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tampa City Hall, E Kennedy Blvd.,Tampa.

Little Miss Juneteenth Tampa Bay Pageant One of the various events and programs organized by the Tampa Bay Juneteenth Coalition, the Little Miss Juneteenth pageant is a local version of the nationwide spectacle. Friday, June 16. 6 p.m. $15-20. Middleton High School, 4801 N 22nd St., Tampa.

USF’s Juneteenth Celebration USF Black Alumni Society hosts a multicultural Juneteenth celebration full of food vendors, jazz music, dancers, and educational panels. While this event is free to attend, registration via Eventbrite is encouraged.
Saturday, June 17. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center at University of South Florida, 4202 E Fowler Ave.,Tampa.

A Juneteenth Celebration Traditional African attire is encouraged at this church-hosted Juneteenth event, which promises lots of singing and other entertainment.
Saturday, June 17. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 20th Street Church Of Christ, 825 20th St S, St. Petersburg. 20th Street Church Of Christ on Facebook

Tampa Bay Juneteenth Festival Perhaps the largest Juneteenth celebration on either side of the bridge, this stadium-hosted festival with a “block party atmosphere” features food trucks, local vendors, a job fair, health clinic and family-friendly fun.
Saturday, June 17. 3 p.m.-9 p.m. $10 & up. Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa.

Juneteenth Freedom Fest Take a stroll through the Warehouse Art District and enjoy this event’s various food trucks, local artists, vendors and live entertainment. This fest is dog and kid-friendly, too. Saturday, June 17. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.Warehouse Arts District Association, 515 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg.

Shades of Pride As a part of St. Pete Pride’s month-long programming, this event celebrates the wonderful (and often overlooked) intersection of LGBTQ identity and Black culture. This multifaceted party features a panel with the legendary TV personality TS Madison, a Juneteenth poetry slam with cash prizes, live entertainment, a ballroom extravaganza and more. Come out and honor the “impact of Black and Brown culture on the LGBTQ+ community as a whole and its deep roots in the evolution of Pride.” Saturday, June 17. 8:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. $10. The Factory St. Pete, 2622 Fairfield Ave S, St. Petersburg.

A Travel Through Time: Juneteenth Gala At this gala, guests can indulge in a fancy, formal dinner while enjoying a stage play about Black history. According to the event’s organizers, dancing will take place after its dinner and show. Saturday, June 17. 5 p.m.-9 p.m. $65 & up. Historic Ybor City 1300 E 8th Ave., Ybor City.

Sankofa Juneteenth Freedom Festival This outdoor market features dozens of local Black vendors slinging everything from art and crafts and soaps to natural juices, urban wear and jewelry. It also promises live entertainment and food trucks. While attendance is free, you can RSVP via Eventbrite. Saturday, June 17. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Rebirth Baptist Church, 1924 East Comanche Ave.,Tampa.

Gulfport’s 3rd annual Juneteenth celebration This family-friendly event offers raffles and prizes, free pizza for the kiddos, local vendors, live entertainment and a photobooth during Gulfport’s rendition of the longest-running African American holiday. Saturday, June 17. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Gulfport Casino, 5500 Shore Blvd. S, Gulfport.

Juneteenth Arts Festival In addition to hosting a variety of small businesses, organizations, food vendors and spoken word artists, Sarasota’s Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will also screen films from local filmmakers at its annual Juneteenth celebration. Sunday, June 18. 1 p.m.- 9 p.m. Free. West Coast Black Theatre Troupe, 1012 N Orange Ave., Sarasota.

"Flying Ace" at Tampa Theatre This downtown Tampa institution celebrates 2023’s Juneteenth with a free screening of the 1926 film “The Flying Ace,” which was marketed as “the greatest airplane thriller ever filmed.” It was shot in Jacksonville and features an all-Black cast. After the screening, Fred Hearns, Curator of Black History for the Tampa Bay History Center, will host a panel discussion with various film industry professionals. Sunday, June 18. 3 p.m. Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St., Tampa.

AfroCan Fest This annual event promises to “represent the best in Black fashion, food, art, and music, while maintaining a celebratory atmosphere.” While general admission to AfroCan is free, folks can upgrade to VIP for $40 or Premium VIP for $75—the latter comes with an ultra-comfy “stylized bistro tablescape.”Sunday, June 18. 5 p.m.-9 p.m.  Perry Harvey Park, 1000 E Harrison St., Tampa.

Jazzy Juneteenth Jubilee Tickets to this highly-anticipated gala are sold-out, but fingers crossed the Woodson African American Museum releases a few more last minute tickets. Even if you can’t make the museum’s annual Juneteenth celebration, you can still check out its exhibit “African American History: Resilient, Relentless & Revolutionary,” on display until the end of June. Sunday, June 18. 5 p.m.-8 pm. Woodson African American Museum of Florida, 2240 9th Ave. S, St. Petersburg.

Juneteenth Cultural Celebration: Arts, History & Equity One of the largest Juneteenth-themed events heads to Curtis Hixon this year, and it’s packed with live music, art, dance, food vendors and tons of local businesses and organizations. Admission is free but RSVPing on Eventbrite is recommended. Sunday, June 18. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 North Ashley Dr.,Tampa.

Juneteenth: A Free Day Folks can visit the Tampa Bay History Center free of charge all day and enjoy its current exhibits about Florida wildlife and the history of Key West. Admission to the Tampa Museum of Art will also be free of charge on Monday in collaboration with Tampa’s massive Juneteenth Cultural Celebration. Monday, June 19. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Water St., Tampa.

"Moonlight" screening Ybor City’s microcinema hosts a variety of films throughout June to honor Pride month, but also screens the critically-acclaimed 2016 movie “Moonlight” to celebrate Pride’s intersection with Juneteenth. Mondays are also industry night, so folks in the biz can enjoy a discounted admission price.
Monday, June 19. 7 p.m. $5. Screen Door Microcinema (inside of Kress Collective), 624 East 7th Ave., Ybor City.

Arts Legacy Remix The Straz hosts its third annual Juneteenth-themed gig; this year’s rendition features spoken remembrances, writings of historical importance and “an original performance of music, poetry and dance created specially for this Juneteenth commemoration.” While admission to this Monday night gig is free, space is limited so we recommend getting there a bit early. Monday, June 19. 7:30 p.m. Jaeb Theatre at David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N Macinnes Pl., Tampa.

Juneteenth Musical stage play One of the many events organized and promoted by the Tampa Bay Juneteenth Coalition this summer, this event features a variety of gospel singing, choreography and children’s performances. Friday, June 23. 6:30 p.m. $20. The Duffy Center, 10110 N Central Ave., Tampa.

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About The Author

Kyla Fields

Kyla Fields is the Managing Editor of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay who started their journey at CL as summer 2019 intern. They are the proud owner of a charming, sausage-shaped, four-year-old rescue mutt named Piña.
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