There are many DARTable Juneteenth celebrations taking place on Saturday, June 17. (Not Monday.)
Juneteenth has its roots here in Texas. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation happened in 1863, news did not make it to Texas until June 19, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Galveston and announced that more than a quarter-million slaves in the state were now free. The day came to be known as Juneteenth, and is now celebrated nationally.
Opal Lee, who is from Fort Worth and known as the "grandmother of Juneteenth," is the 96-year-old Texan whose efforts helped make Juneteenth a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S.
Here's where you can go to celebrate in North Texas.
2023 Juneteenth 4K Walk & Festival (Dallas) – The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center hosts this event from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event begins with a 4K Freedom Walk and ends with a free community festival with live entertainment vendors and fun activities for the entire family. The venue is walkable from the Green Line’s MLK, Jr. Station.
Garland Juneteenth Celebration – The City of Garland hosts its annual Juneteenth event from 5-8 p.m. at Audubon Park. Bring the whole family out to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people with a celebration of freedom and unification through dance, speakers, and live music. There are food trucks, a children’s activity area, and an area to reflect on the day’s historical significance. Audubon Park is walkable from Bus Route 212.
Irving Juneteenth Celebration – The City of Irving celebrates Juneteenth at King Square Pocket Park and Bear Creek Heritage Park – which are less than a block apart. This day of fun and entertainment included Irving’s Got Talent winners performing in King Square Pocket Park from 3-4 p.m., followed by the event at Bear Crossing Heritage Park from 4-8 p.m. There are live music performances, an African storyteller, a classic car show, local vendors, and complimentary food from In-N-Out, while supplies last. Both parks are easily walkable from Downtown Irving/Heritage Crossing Station on the Trinity Railway Express (TRE).
Plano Juneteenth. Plano’s celebration takes place in the Douglass Community neighborhood. The event includes a parade that starts at 2 p.m. on the corner of Avenue I and 13th Street, and finishes at the Douglass Community Center on Avenue G. There is also a barbecue contest, as well as a car show. The event is walkable from Downtown Plano Station on the Red Line.
Rowlett Juneteenth Block Party – This fun event includes a live performance by the EJ Matthews Band, games, vendors, and food. Downtown Rowlett’s green space is a block from its namesake Downtown Rowlett Station on the Blue Line.