Last year, public Juneteenth festivals were hard to find in North Jersey, though plenty of people celebrated the holiday with barbecues and at-home parties.
Oh, what a difference a year can make. This year the holiday, celebrated on June 19, is being honored throughout North Jersey with pop-up shopping events, massive festivals, 5Ks, bike trails, art exhibits and panel discussions.
Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when news that slavery had been abolished reached Galveston, Texas, two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. The freed people of Galveston erupted into celebrations that day.
In 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy officially made Juneteenth a state holiday. Here’s where to find Juneteenth celebrations in North Jersey.
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Juneteenth Festival, Hackensack
The City of Hackensack will host its first Juneteenth festival from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 19. The event will feature entertainment and events. A flag ceremony will begin at 10 a.m.
Go: Carver Park; 294 Second Street, Hackensack; bergenresourcenet.org/news-events/events/juneteenth-festival.
Bergen County NAACP, Ridgefield Park
Bergen NAACP will celebrate Juneteenth at Overpeck County Park’s Amphitheater from noon to 6 p.m. The festival will include Juneteenth history presentations, NAACP awards, health screenings, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations, performances, spoken word poetry, voter registration, free books for kids and a job fair. The group Total Eclipse will perform.
Go: Overpeck Amphitheater; Ridgefield Park.
Juneteenth Ride, Edgewater
Blood Sweat and Gears Bike Club will host this Juneteenth Ride on June 19. The meeting point is Trek Bicycle in Edgewater at 11 a.m. Bikers will then ride to 125th Street Pier in Harlem to meet up with more riders. At 2 p.m., everyone will ride together through Harlem. Along the way, the group will stop at Black-owned businesses. This is a free event.
Go: Trek Bicycle Edgewater; 14 Edgewater Towne Center, Edgewater; eventbrite.com/e/juneteenth-ride-tickets.
Juneteenth Celebration, Jersey City
One of the area’s largest Juneteenth celebrations is taking place in the North Field of Liberty State Park, from noon to 8 p.m. on June 19. Expect music, food, dancing and performances. So far, more than 10,000 people have RSVP’d. Admission is free.
Go: Liberty State Park; 200 Morris Pesin Dr, Jersey City; juneteenth-nj.com.
Chef Ed’s Mixtape Dinner: The Juneteenth Bad Boy Party, Weehawken
Head to Marcus NoHu Rooftop for a celebration of the 90s and the iconic record label Bad Boy Entertainment. Dishes inspired by artists such as Biggie, Diddy, Lox and 112 will be served. Expect 90s hip hop-themed artwork, music and surprise performances. The night will be hosted by Shani Kulture. From 6 to 10 p.m. on June 18. Tickets range from $25 to $25.
Go: Marcus at NoHu Rooftop; 550 Ave. at Port Imperial, Weehawken; 201-683-2132, envuehotel.com/dining/nohu.
African Cultural Arts Family Festival 2021, Jersey City
The African Cultural Arts Committee will host a family festival with food and at Berry Lane Park. Innovation Demand drill and drum team will perform at 2 p.m.; Spektrums Afrikans dancers and drummers at 3 p.m.; ROC & The Collective at 4 p.m.; and Geovanni Arencibia and the Afro/Cuban Jazz Band at 5 p.m. The festival runs from 1 to 7 p.m. on June 19.
Go: Berry Lane Park; 1000 Garfield Ave., Jersey City; 551-998-7116, jerseycityculture.org.
Juneteenth Jubilation, Kearny
Award-winning artists, photographers and filmmakers will screen their work at this drive-in theater experience. From 7 to 11 p.m. on June 19 at Gardenship.
Go: Gardenship; 205 Campus Dr., Building 44c, Kearny; heventbrite.com/e/juneteenth-jubilation-tickets.
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Juneteenth Events at Fleet Feet, Montclair
Fleet Feet in Montclair will host a family walk/run followed by speakers, music, performances, poetry and more. At 7:30 a.m., line up for the Montclair Black History 5K or 7-mile run and walk at Edgemont Park (Valley Road). From noon to 5 p.m., the Juneteenth Jubilee kicks off, featuring performers to celebrate black liberation (at Glenfield Park, 115 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair). At 2 p.m. at the Vanguard Theater (180 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair), performances, a screening of the film “A Place to Become” and a panel display will begin. All events are free.
Go: Various locations; fleetfeet.com/s/montclair/community/juneteenth-montclair-black-history-run-walk.
Bloomfield Township’s Juneteenth Celebration, Bloomfield
On June 18, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., a round table discussion about Juneteenth will be held at the Bloomfield High School auditorium (160 Broad St., Bloomfield). Speakers include Derrick Griggs, CEO of Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Amina Baraka, a poet, author and activist, and Akil Kalfani, director of the Africana Institute at Essex County College.
Bloomfield Township has partnered with local nonprofit Giveback Hair Show to host a festival honoring Black culture in Bloomfield Center from Glenwood Avenue to Washington St. Black-owned businesses will set up booths at the event, and there will be hairstylists and barbers. Expect live performances. This is a free event. From noon to 6 p.m. on June 19.
Go: Various locations; bloomfieldtwpnj.com.
Community Day: Juneteenth at the Newark Museum of Art, Newark
The Newark Museum of Art will host events throughout the day, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 19, including crafts for kids, a presentation on the George Floyd Foundation’s initiatives, a masterclass and performance by Soul Step, a walking tour and a panel discussion. Events are free. Pre-registration is available online.
Go: The Newark Museum of Art; 49 Washington St., Newark; 973-596-6550, newarkmuseumart.org.
Sweet Shop Juneteenth Pop Up Shop, Newark
Hit this pop-up event with vendors from 1 to 6 p.m. on June 19.
Go: 12 Venue; 60 Broad St., Newark; eventbrite.com/e/sweet-shop-juneteenth-pop-up-shop-tickets.
Montclair Brewery, Montclair
Montclair Brewery, one of New Jersey’s three Black-owned breweries, has partnered with Harlem Hops to create a Juneteenth beer called Jubilee. Jubilee is a red wheat ale brewed with hibiscus flowers, which are native to West Africa and were brought to the Americas through the Atlantic slave trade. On June 19, head to the taproom for live entertainment, as well as music by DJ Ritters, from 1 to 10 p.m.
“As I learned more about this holiday, I wanted to add a piece of Africa to the recipe to remind everyone about the origin of the people who finally got their freedom. That’s why I chose to use hibiscus, also known as bissap throughout many parts of Africa, including Burkina Faso where I was born and raised,” said lead brewer and co-owner Leo Sawadogo.
Go: 101 Walnut St., Montclair; 973-850-0541, montclairbrewery.com.
Juneteenth Blueprint Edition: Blueprint Café, Newark
Blueprint Café will celebrate the holiday by opening its backyard seating and releasing new menu items. Music will be provided by the band Airplane Mode. The event is BYOB with free entry. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 19.
Go: Blueprint Café; 369 Raymond Blvd., Newark; 973-732-0421, blueprintcafelounge.com.
Movies in the Park: Juneteenth Edition, Newark
Newark’s Movies in the Park program will screen the film “Judas and the Black Messiah” at 6:30 p.m. on June 18. Bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on. Free ice cream from Solidary Creamery will be available.
Go: Ivy Hill Park; Mt. Vernon Place and Seton Hall University, Newark; eventbrite.com/e/movies-in-the-park-juneteenth-edition-tickets.
The Black Home, Newark
The Black Home, an interior design studio created by Neffi Walker, will host a grand opening for its Newark location on June 19. A block party will be held from noon to 6 p.m., featuring vendors (including Tonnie’s Minis Bakery, New York Liberty, XAV Beauty and Makershood), performances (by Bri Black, DJ Ruggz, JusTheDJ and Steel Band), scholarship announcementsgames and activities like double dutch, bounce houses and hopscotch.
Go: 7 William St., Newark; theblackhome.com.
The Black Market: Summer Pop-up, West Orange
Apple Butter Boutique will host this market, featuring black-owned businesses. Admission is $10. Vendors include Mama + Flame, Blush Velvet Boutique, Be Graceful Apparel and Stylish Designs. Entry includes a raffle ticket for a chance to win prizes. Takes place from noon to 6 p.m.
Go: 558 Valley Road, West Orange; 973-384-1085, applebutterboutique.com.
Juneteenth Pop Up Shop, Maplewood
Black-owned businesses including Bella’s Candy Cosmetics, Crystals & Sage by Nay, Mama Africa and Alpha Motto Clothing will be featured at this pop-up, running from 6 to 9 p.m. on June 18. Admission is free.
Go: 13 Jefferson Ave., Maplewood; eventbrite.com/e/juneteeth-pop-up-shop-tickets.
Juneteenth Family Storytime, Denville
Denville Voices for Radical Justice and the Denville Public Library will read stories and lead crafts. Children attending need a ticket to register, but adults do not. The event will be held on the brick patio outside of the Denville Museum from 10 to 10:30 a.m. on June 19.
Go: 121 Diamond Spring Road, Denville; 973-627-6555, denvillelibrary.org.
Into the Light: Opening Juneteenth Event, Morristown
The work of featured artist Rosalind Nzinga Nichol, as well as about 30 other emerging artists, will be featured at the “Into The Light” exhibit at Art in the Atrium. Guests can attend through zoom or in-person at Artist Baker, where there will be a meet and greet with Nichol. This event is free and runs from 3 to 7 p.m. (with the program beginning at 4 p.m.) on June 19.
Go: Artist Baker; 16 Cattano Ave., Morristown; artintheatrium.org.
Rebecca King is a food writer for NorthJersey.com. For more on where to dine and drink, please subscribe today and sign up for our North Jersey Eats newsletter.
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