The City of Allentown will mark an observance of Juneteenth with a day-long family friendly celebration on Saturday, June 19 beginning with a flag raising at city hall at 11 a.m. and leading up to a 20-minute-fireworks show at Seventh & Hamilton streets at 9 p.m.
Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Texas in 1865 to take control of the state following the conclusion of the Civil War and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. It honors the end of slavery in the U.S. and is considered the longest-running Black holiday.
Resurrected Life Community Church, UCC, Resurrected Community Development Corporation, Inc., Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley and Freedom Memorial of the Lehigh Valley are presenting "A Celebration of Blackness, Liberation and Freedom" at Resurrected Life Community Church at 144 N. 9th Street from 12 noon to 4 p.m. A Freedom March will step off from RLCC/ James Lawson Freedom School to the Martin Luther King & Coretta Scott King Monument at 12 p.m. Throughout the day there will be food and merchandise vendors, a DJ and information booths focusing on mind, body and soul.
Live music and dancing are scheduled for the main stage at WFMZ Plaza outside PPL Center from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
A Juneteenth Pageant is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the main stage. Pageant applications and contest guidelines are available to all Allentown School District middle and high school students. The application deadline is June 14. Candidates will be judged on an essay submission and talent and eveningwear portions. The middle school and high school students will have the support of AIMS from Kutztown University to provide evening wear as needed.
A children's tent with five free arts and crafts, including freedom quilts and flag making paper crafts, diversity people kits, beads and sand art will be available throughout the day at Seventh & Hamilton streets.
A youth 5-on-5 flag football tournament will be held at Union Terrace Park beginning at 8 a.m. for teams of ages 8-and-under, 10-and-under and 12-and-under. It is being organized by OOS (Out of Sight), an Allentown youth organization. Allentown youth will wear special Juneteenth uniforms. Trophies will be presented to the winning teams on the main stage following the pageant.
Allentown is a participant in Juneteenth Lehigh Valley, a partnership formed to educate the community about the history and importance of the day which was not reached until two-and-a-half-years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Juneteenth Lehigh Valley will hold a morning event at Arts Quest in Bethlehem with a focus on history, art, and music.
Juneteenth Lehigh Valley is launching a commemorative coloring book. The city is printing 8000 copies for distribution to every Allentown School District student in grades K-5.
The event is a collaboration of many local community partners including the City of Allentown, Allentown School District, Out of Sight youth football, Resurrected Life Community Church, UCC, RCDC, Freedom Memorial of Lehigh Valley, Black Owned Known, Kutztown Community Outreach Center day of service, Luv & Hugs, Children of Joy Christian Academy, Wyoming 135 Prince Hall Masonic Order, Cohesion Network, Faces International, Beyond Décor, Union Baptist and contributing local churches and businesses.
Rain date for the event is Sunday, June 20.
For more information on Juneteenth events taking place in the city visit the city website www.allentownpa.gov/Juneteenth.