For the first time since 2019 — and the first time since the holiday was recognized as a federal and state holiday — Central New York will have a Juneteenth festival.

Most of the upcoming weekend’s festivities in Syracuse will take place on Friday and Saturday in front of City Hall, kicking off with a flag raising at noon on Friday.

The area in front of City Hall will then become the festival’s home for two days. On Friday, the festival will last from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m.

The festivities will resume at 11 a.m. Saturday with a parade that starts in front of the Dunbar Association at 1453 S. State St.

Ruthnie Angrand, the city’s director of communications and marketing, who is on the Juneteenth committee’s board of directors, said the parade typically draws residents out of their homes as it winds through the city, but she hopes this year’s parade draws onlookers downtown too.

“We would love to see a huge crowd welcoming the parade on Salina Street,” Angrand said.

On Saturday, the festival will last from noon until 10 p.m. in front of City Hall.

For the first time since 2016, the festival will bring back a Juneteenth Pageant put together by Kenyatta Calloway.

Organizers put this year’s festival together in five months. While Syracuse endured the Omicron variant of Covid-19, planning to hold the festival was “a roll of the dice,” Angrand said.

Now that the event is set, Angrand said she hopes to see all types of people show up. While the holiday centers the experiences of Black people in America, it is an American holiday, she said.

“Celebrations only work when you get people together,” Angrand said.

Schedule of events

Friday

  • Noon: Flag raising at City Hall
  • 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Festival at City Hall
    • Evening performances: Burnell Reid, UAD, Atlas
  • 5:30 p.m.: Miss Juneteenth Pageant at City Hall

Saturday

  • 11 a.m.: Parade starts in front of Dunbar Association at 1453 S. State St.
  • Noon to 10 p.m.: Festival at City Hall
    • Afternoon performances: Fashion show, Lindsey Williams and Divine Connection, Meditations
    • Evening performances: Trump Tight 315, Jon B

June 24

  • 7 p.m.: Ancestral celebration at the Sheraton

Tickets to the ancestral celebration cost $50. The event is a yearly fundraiser for the Juneteenth Committee. Tickets can be bought here.

Chris Libonati

Chris Libonati covers government, accountability and equity. Have a tip? Contact Chris at 585-290-0718 or libonati@centralcurrent.org.