Community events on June 16 will celebrate and raise awareness of the new federal holiday

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

Lexington residents have celebrated Juneteenth for many years with events at African Cemetery No. 2 and the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden. This year, in addition to these two events, several new celebrations are 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 end of slavery in the United States – the June 19 holiday honors the day all slaves in the United States were legally freed.

“We are thrilled to support various community events taking place across our city on the weekend of June 16. These celebrations will give people new ways to enjoy the holiday and opportunities to learn more about its meaning,” said Mayor Linda Gorton.

Council member James Brown said: “As this is the first year the city has truly been able to celebrate June 19 as a national holiday, it is important that we support a variety of local events and celebrations from June 19.

Events highlighting the celebration in Lexington:

  • Soulteenth will kick off the Moondance Amphitheater on June 18 with a celebration of black liberation and ingenuity through music, art, farming and food.
  • Immediately following will be the 17th Annual Jubilee on June 19 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 the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden. The festival will include vendors, entertainment, children’s activities and a community community celebrating Black Liberation.
  • On the evening of June 19, a June 19 celebration will take place at Douglass Park from 5-7 p.m. and will include food, inflatables, and music.
  • The celebration will be crowned by the literary event of Afrilachian poets at the Lyric Theater & Cultural Arts Center. The event features acclaimed members of the Poètes Afrilachiens. 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.

June 19 Jubilee
African Cemetery #2 – 419 E. Seventh St.
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Sunday June 19
June 16 party
Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden – 577 E. Third St.
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

June 16 party
Douglass Park – 726 Georgetown St.
5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

June 19 Independence Day Celebration
Literary event of Afrilachian poets

Lyric Theater and Cultural Arts Center – 300 E. Third St.
7 p.m.

Visit for more information on events and activities happening throughout the weekend in Lexington.

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