Auburn to host 2024 Juneteenth celebration

The festivities will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 23, at Les Gove Park.

The third-annual Juneteenth celebration in Auburn will feature Sen. John Lovick (D-Mill Creek) and a community concert from Ghanaian drum team Anokye Agofomma, in addition to many other performers and speakers, as the city celebrates and honors the history and significance of Juneteenth.

“Juneteenth in Auburn has become an annual tradition at Les Gove Park, and a holiday many in our community look forward to each year,” said Brenda Goodson-Moore, the City of Auburn’s Chief Equity Officer, in a news release. “This holiday is about recognizing our history and the emancipation of Black Americans across the country, state, and cities in our region. I’m so excited for our community to experience our citywide celebration, together.”

The festivities will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 23, at Les Gove Park, near the Auburn Community and Event Center. The Auburn Farmers Market will take place at the same time and place, just down the pathway at Les Gove on the southern end of the park. This year, Juneteenth will feature over 100 food and craft vendors, including the Original Phillys, Spooky Dogs, Soul Fusion, Delfino’s Chicago Style Pizza, and more. Bring your blankets and chairs.

From about noon to 1 p.m., participants will hear from Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus, Gwen Allen-Carston, executive director of Kent Black Action Commission, author Evan Cook, Senator John Lovick, community member Daris Burton, and Anokye Agofomma, a world-traveled drum group led by Ghanaian master drummer Yaw Amponsah, featuring drumming styles from the Asante region of Ghana.

This year’s Juneteenth will feature free bouncy houses, face painting, balloon animals, a photo booth, giveaways, and plenty of opportunities to support Black-owned businesses.

In 2021, the U.S. Congress passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day and making the day a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The Act was signed into law by President Biden on June 17, 2021.

The origins of Juneteenth date back to June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, the end of slavery in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.