This weekend, Dayton will join cities around the country in celebrating Juneteenth with a wide range of community events. America's second independence day and the nation's newest federal holiday, Juneteenth is the oldest internationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day or Freedom Day has spread across the United States and beyond. Juneteenth celebrations highlight the ongoing fight for human rights and equality. The observance celebrates African American resilience and achievement, while aiding in the preservation of historical narratives that have promoted racial and personal advancement since Freedom Day. 

Local celebrations include free events at Levitt Pavilion Dayton, Fraze Pavilion, Liberation Park in Dayton, and the Eichelberger Amphitheater in Huber Heights, as well as a new exhibition and artist talk at the Dayton Art Institute, to name just a few Below are details about each of those events, along with links for more information. Surrounding communities also have Juneteenth events planned over the next few days, and you can read more about those at

Above Image: Rebirth Brass Band, performing at the Levitt Pavilion Dayton on June 17.

Levitt Pavilion Dayton

Downtown Dayton’s Levitt Pavilion leads the way with its third annual Juneteenth event on Saturday, June 17. Community-curated opening ceremonies begin at 5 p.m., with poetry, African dance, musicians, drumming, performances, commemoration, food trucks, live choir, creative sculptures and music by Core DJ SKNO. This is followed by a free concert at 7 p.m. from Rebirth Brass Band, offering its Grammy-winning blend of jazz, funk, soul and R&B. Get more details about the festivities at the Levitt Pavilion Dayton website.

Juneteenth Celebration at Liberation Park in Dayton

Promotional graphic for the Dayton Juneteenth Celebration taking place June 17 at Liberation Park

A festive and educational Juneteenth Celebration event takes place at Dayton's Liberation Park on Saturday, June 17, from 9 a.m. to dusk. Formerly known as Broadway Park, Liberation Park is located on the corner of N. Broadway St. and Superior Ave. The park will be transformed into a lively and welcoming atmosphere where people of all ages can come together to celebrate the historical significance of Juneteenth. Local musicians and artists will perform throughout the day, vending booths will offer a variety of goods, such as clothing, jewelry and other merchandise, and there will be a diverse range of food options, including traditional African-American cuisine and other delicious dishes, as well as educational opportunities to learn more about the history of Juneteenth. Visit the organizers' Facebook event for more information.

Juneteenth Music Festival in Huber Heights

A promotional poster for the Juneteenth Music Festival at the Eichelberger Amphitheater in Huber Heights

The Eichelberger Amphitheater in Huber Heights (located near the Huber Heights YMCA and Kroger Aquatic Center at The Heights) will host the second annual Juneteenth Music Festival on Sunday, June 18, from 5 to 10 p.m. Performances include Chay Buddah & Hot2Def, Ric Sexton & Friends, and headlining the festival, the Dayton Funk All-Stars. Several Black-owned food trucks will serve a variety of soul food cuisine, and Black-owned business vendors will also be on hand. The festival will include a beer and wine garden. More information can be found at the Facebook event page.

Juneteenth: Celebrating Freedom at Fraze Pavilion

Juneteenth: Emancipation Day in Kettering

The Fraze Pavilion will host Kettering's second annual Juneteenth celebration on Monday, June 19, from 4 - 7 p.m. The family friendly event will feature live music from Dayton-based reggae-infused, funk and soul band Luv Locz Experiment (4-5 p.m. and 6:15-7 p.m.) and an inspiring keynote address by historian and TEDx Talk presenter Faheem Curtis-Khidr (5:30 p.m.). Faheem is a tenured faculty member and Equity Fellow at Sinclair Community College. His local research project on West Dayton’s Hog Bottom neighborhood has been recognized and showcased at the REACH Conference, The National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center, and by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The celebration event will also feature food trucks, local black-owned business, arts and crafts vendors, as well as crafts and activities for children, Details can be found at the Fraze Pavilion website.

Dayton Art Institute

An image of the artwork "Sippie Wallace", created in 2016 by Chris Roberts-Antieau
Featured Artwork: Chris Roberts-Antieau, Sippie Wallace, 2016, fabric appliqué and thread, private collection 

The Dayton Art Institute celebrates Juneteenth with a distinct, collaborative new Focus Exhibition, organized in conjunction with the Dayton Unit NAACP, that will be on view June 16 through September 10. Reflections in Time: Dayton Unit NAACP Celebrates History brings together 16 paintings that celebrate Black history and weave together stories of the past and present. The vibrant, often uplifting paintings speak to the heritage, experiences and desires of African Americans. Highlights of the exhibition will be Annie Lee’s inspirational painting Holy Spirit, a series by Southwestern artist Kim Wiggins, and stylized paintings of elongated figures by Ernie Barnes Jr., perhaps best known for his images used in the hit 1970s TV series Good Times and as the cover for Marvin Gaye’s 1976 album, I Want You. Featured artist Kim Wiggins will give an artist talk at the museum on Saturday, June 17, 3-4 p.m. The exhibition and talk are free for museum members and included in museum admission for non-members. For more information, visit the Dayton Art Institute's website.

Catch a free ride to Juneteenth events on the RTA

 To make sure the community has access to the numerous Juneteenth celebrations, all rides system-wide on the Greater Dayton RTA will be free on Sunday, June 18 and Monday, June 19. We encourage you to get out and enjoy these and other Juneteenth events around the Dayton area. Let us know in the comments if there are other events you plan to attend. Post your pics on social media and tag them with #DiscoverDayton – we might feature them on our website and social media! Be sure to also check out our calendar of events and download our FREE Visit Dayton app to help plan weekend.