Henrico to host annual Juneteenth Celebration on June 15 at Dorey Park

Music, historical displays, fireworks will commemorate African American freedom in US

Henrico County will celebrate Juneteenth – also known as “Emancipation Day” or “Day of Freedom” – on Saturday, June 15, with a day of family fun and entertainment at Dorey Park, including performances on two stages, an expanded vendor fair, historical and educational exhibits, a kids’ zone and fireworks.

The annual Henrico County Juneteenth Celebration will honor the events of June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers delivered word to enslaved people in Galveston, Texas that they had been freed under President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of Jan. 1, 1863. Some who had been enslaved and their descendants returned to Galveston each year on June 19 to celebrate their “Day of Freedom.” Now a federal and a Henrico County holiday, Juneteenth National Independence Day is considered the United States’ second Independence Day.

“Henrico County’s Juneteenth Celebration has been a date to circle on the calendar since the event’s inception four years ago,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Tyrone E. Nelson, of the Varina District. “I look forward to seeing our community come together, once again, to celebrate and reflect on the day when the freedoms on which our nation was founded were extended to all Americans.”

The Dorey Park event, presented by the Division of Recreation & Parks, is free and open to the public, with entertainment and activities scheduled from 4 to 10 p.m. From 4 to 8 p.m., the event will feature 150 Black-owned businesses in a vendor fair and a kids’ zone with entertainment and a community art project. Throughout the event, the Juneteenth Celebration will include food trucks and performances by various community groups, including Legacy Band and Hope Alive, which is part of Speaking Spirit Ministries. The event will be capped with a performance by Art of Noise RVA at 8 p.m. and a fireworks finale at 9:45 p.m.

“Juneteenth represents a moment in history that deserves reflection, understanding and celebration,” said John Zannino, director of Recreation & Parks. “Just as we do for Independence Day and with other signature events, Henrico County is pleased to present a fun, family-friendly event that will be inspiring, uplifting and memorable for our entire community. With this year’s celebration, we’re pleased to showcase more vendors and offer entertainment on two stages, including a Community Stage that will feature the talents of local youth.”

More information on the Juneteenth Celebration, including tips on what to bring and directions for entering the park, is online.

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