HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Juneteenth marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865 when thousands of enslaved people were finally emancipated. Federal forces arrived in Galveston, Texas, to enact President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation signed more than two years earlier.

On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday.


Hampton Roads Transit

HRT will be offering free fares on Juneteenth. Community members will be able to ride all buses, light rail, ferries, and transit services for free.

Suffolk Transit will also celebrate Juneteenth with a fare-free day on June 19. Passengers using Suffolk Transit can transfer to an HRT bus and continue to travel throughout other Hampton Roads localities for free. Paratransit services will also be free. Suffolk Transit route information is available at this link.


Juneteenth Community Cookout

On Sunday, June 18 head to Elizabeth River Park, 1400 Elizabeth River Way for the Juneteenth Community Cookout. From noon to 6 p.m. enjoy food, music, games, and community.

There will be a children’s tent courtesy of the Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission where you can find Juneteenth focused arts and activities. Shop at the black business market presented by the Chesapeake NAACP.

The event is free and open to the public. You can register for your spot at the link here.


A Juneteenth Pageant

Note: This event is rescheduled to Monday, June 19 at 6 p.m.

On Friday, June 16, watch A Juneteenth Pageant, presented by the Hampton History Museum and sponsored by the Fort Monroe Authority. It will begin at 7 p.m. at the Northampton Community Center, 1435 Todds Lane, Building A. The play will be a mix of song, spoken word, laughter, and tears.

Hampton playwright, Marie St. Clair, wrote and directed the play. She says, “In the play, a Pageant Coordinator is holding a grudge, a Master of Ceremony is trying to build a career, and the contestants working through life issues, come together in A Juneteenth Pageant unlike you have ever seen! The play has music, poetry, laughter, DRAMA! The play is a celebration of Juneteenth and will be an evening of theatre you won’t forget!”

The play is free and open to the public.

2nd Annual Juneteenth Freedom Fest

On Sunday, June 18 visit the 2nd Annual Juneteenth Freedom Fest at Darling Stadium, 4111 Victoria Blvd. Here is a list below of special attractions at the event.

  • Juneteenth Churches Unite Worship Service at 10 a.m.
  • Cultural Arts and Entertainment
  • Health and Wellness Screenings
  • Job and Community Resource Fair
  • Book Authors Corner
  • Family and Youth Games and Activities

For more information about the event click here. The event is free and open to the public.

Juneteenth Community Unity Cookout

Celebrate Juneteenth before the holiday weekend. On Friday, June 9 from 4 to 7 p.m. visit Mill Point Park, 100 Eaton St, for the Juneteenth Community Unity Cookout. Join the community for entertainment, food, dancing, and raffles. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to sit. The event is free and open to the public.

Newport News

Juneteenth Freedom Festival

On Monday, June 19 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. the Juneteenth Freedom Festival will be at King-Lincoln Park, 600 Jefferson Ave. The festival will have food and craft vendors, live entertainment, exhibits, and children’s activities. Here is the stage schedule below.

Stage Schedule

  • 12:30 p.m. Champagne Band
  • 2 p.m.  United Souls
  • 3:15 p.m. The Unifics
  • 4:15 p.m. Bobby V

The event is free and open to the public.

3rd Annual Juneteenth Raising the Flag Ceremony

On Monday, June 12 from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., join Newport News for the 3rd Annual Juneteenth Raising the Flag Ceremony. The ceremony has been moved to the City Council Chambers because of the threat of bad weather. The community event will raise the flag of freedom for the last enslaved African American in Galveston, TX.


Juneteenth Celebration

On June 17, visit the Juneteenth Celebration at Richard A. Tucker Memorial Library. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include drum performances, dancers and more.

Juneteenth in the Park

The Festevents Juneteenth event is returning to Town Point Park along the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront. It will be Saturday, June 17, 2023 from noon until 6:30 p.m. Festevents says more information will be available soon at this link. It is free and open to the public.

Juneteenth Freedom Festival

The Juneteenth Freedom Festival will take place at Slover Library on June 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This family-friendly event has food vendors, face painting, music trivia, and more. For more information, click here.

Juneteenth Pop-Up Market

Waterside District is hosting Juneteenth Pop-Up Market on Saturday, June 17 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visit the market for a special edition pop-up market featuring art and culture from local handmade black owned businesses.


Juneteenth Freedom Day

On Sunday, June 18, visit High Street Landing for the Juneteenth Freedom Day. The event is hosted by the Urban League of Hampton Roads, Inc. It will take place from 1 to 9 p.m. Throughout the day enjoy vendors, food, drinks, live music, and more entertainment. The event is free and open to the public.

Juneteenth Jam

Hosted by Hard Times Skate Shop, visit the 3rd Annual Juneteenth Jam on Monday, June 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will have music, a skateboard content, food trucks, games, and more fun!


Juneteenth: A Celebration Of Our Stories

On Friday, June 17 from noon to 2 p.m. visit Morgan Memorial Library, 443 West Washington Street for Juneteenth: A Celebration Of Our Stories.

Suffolk says, “Come together this Juneteenth for a community conversation where we can share and celebrate our stories and reflect on what it means to be Black in our community, the United States, and our lives as a whole.”

Guests are welcome to drop in any time and no registration is required. It is free and open to the public.

Surry County

United to Empower, LLC, (UTE) will be partnering with various community entities to honor the historical event of June 19, 1865. The day of remembrance of this historical event will occur on June 17, 2023 at Surry Parks and Recreation Center, located at 205 Enos Road.

The theme for the 2023 Annual Juneteenth Festival for Surry County, Virginia is “Celebrating Our Freedom and Future”. This event is free and open to the public. The main festival activities, will begin at noon and end at 7 p.m. There will be musical entertainment, food/business vendors, local resources booths, free face painting, popcorn, cotton candy, and plenty of family fun activities. Voter registrations will also be provided.

Virginia Beach

2nd Annual Juneteenth At The Beach

Head to 24th Street Park at the oceanfront for Juneteenth At The Beach from Friday, June 17 to Sunday, June 19. Hosted by TEAM LAMB & THE LAMBS Foundation, the 3-day event will be jam packed with family friendly fun all weekend long. There will be education opportunities, live entertainment, food, culture, and time for connection.

Activities include morning yoga, Ol’ School Car Show, Black Brand Panel, poetry showcase, Poolside Cooking – Food Truck Panel, and much more!

General admission is free, but registration is required. There are Souvenir and One Day VIP Passes available. To sign up or purchase tickets, click here.

VBGIGS Presents Virginia African American Cultural Center in the ViBe Creative District

June 17, 9 a.m., ViBe Creative District, 1810 Cypress Ave.
Kick off Juneteenth weekend with an array of performers from the Virginia African American Cultural Center (VAACC). Offering performing arts, artifacts, and information, VAACC and new Executive Director Tamar Smithers will educate and connect audiences with the importance of Juneteenth. This event will bring surprise performers together with crafters and the biggest farm to table market at the oceanfront, located in the heart of the ViBe Creative District. Performances will run throughout the morning, starting at 9 a.m. This event is part of Virginia Beach’s Globally Inspired Gatherings (VBGIGS) series.

African American Music Month Celebrating Juneteenth

June 18, 3-5 p.m., Renaissance Academy, 5100 Cleveland St.

To close out Juneteenth weekend, the Virginia Beach History Museums and Princess Anne Country Training School/Union Kempsville High School Alumni & Friends Association will host a free musical performance to celebrate African American Music Month and Juneteenth! “African American Music Month Celebrating Juneteenth” will be held from 3-5 p.m. on June 18. The Fuzz Band will take the stage outside of the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum for a soulful celebration of music and history. Be among the first to view new and refreshed exhibits in the museum, as well as the unveiling of the original 1937 Princess Anne County Training School property deed. Seating opens at 2:30 p.m. 

African American Book Club

June 22, 2-3 p.m., Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd.

Participate in a discussion of “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which provides a unique view of enslavement in the U.S. and a young man’s attempt to defeat the system and find freedom for himself and others. This program is aimed for adults. Register today as seating is limited. Registration required.

Juneteenth Movie Night

June 22, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Windsor Woods Area Library, 3612 S Plaza Trail

Come hang out at the library with a movie and snacks all in celebration of summer and Juneteenth! With popular movie options and assorted snacks to pick from, there will be something for everyone. Open to students Grades 6-12. Registration preferred but not required.


Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg is offering free admission to the Historic Area and Art Museums on June 19. Visitors can pre-register to claim complimentary tickets at the link here. Free admission gives visitors access to special programming. Visit colonialwilliamsburg.org/juneteenth for more information.

Juneteenth Sunrise Service

On Sunday, June 18 at 6 a.m. Colonial Williamsburg will have a Juneteenth Sunrise Service under the Compton Oak. The service will have a keynote address given by Tina Lifford, CEO of wellbeing initiative, The Inner Fitness Project. Lifford is an actress and recently finished shooting for Queen Sugar, an Oprah Winfrey Network drama series.

William & Mary Juneteenth Celebration

UPDATE: Due to the forecast, the William & Mary Juneteenth Celebration will be moved the Sadler Center.

William & Mary will host its second in-person Juneteenth celebration, on June 16. The event is scheduled for 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Sadler Center. The program will include poetry, music and a performance by the Elegba Folklore Society, among others.

T-shirts will be available for purchase along with goods and food from various local vendors. Details are available on the W&M Juneteenth website.

North Carolina

Elizabeth City

Juneteenth Kickoff Event

On Friday, June 16 at 5 p.m. the Chamber of Commerce and Arts of the Albemarle present the kickoff event for a three-day Juneteenth weekend. The event at the Arts of Albemarle, 516 E Main St, will be an educational opportunity about the holiday with hors d’oeuvres and light entertainment. The event is free and open to the public.

On Saturday, June 17 at 3 p.m. it is the Juneteenth Celebration Festival at Mariners Wharf Park. This year’s theme is “Educate, Celebrate, and Praise”. It’s the 19th annual festival and will be held family reunion style, with free food stations, entertainment, games, and a children’s area.