8 Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth in Austin
There are many ways to honor Juneteenth, a day to commemorate the end of slavery and appreciate Black culture in the U.S.
By Avery Matschek
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day federal troops came to Galveston to take control of Texas and ensure that all slaves were freed. The day came more than two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and more than one month after the end of the Civil War. Recognized as the day that slavery effectively ended in the U.S., Texas was the first state to commemorate Juneteenth as a state holiday, starting in 1979. Now memorialized as a federal holiday, many events will be held across Austin to celebrate the significance of the historic date.
In honor of Juneteenth, the Neill-Cochran House Museum has created the Black West Austin Driving Tour, a self-guided tour for biking, walking or driving. The tour helps participants better understand the true history of Austin, as well as the many contributions made by Black residents that have aided in the city’s development. Guests can visit the museum, which is home to Austin’s only intact slave quarters, during business hours from June 12 to 19 to pick up a copy of the guide. The Driving Tour guide is included in the price of general admission to the museum.
The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center will join forces with Six Square Austin’s Black Cultural District to host the Stay Black and Live Weekend Festival during the weekend of Juneteenth. The event started in 2020 as a livestream and is now held in person at the Carver Museum. The party starts on Saturday, June 18 with performances, food from local chefs and guided tours of the museum and community garden. Sunday will be a mini-music festival, with sets from Ivy Rootz, Open 2.0, Mama Duke, WC Clark and many more. All are invited to the museum’s Freedom Lawn for the festivities.
The Soul Food Truck Fest, presented by Favor at Huston-Tillotson University, bills itself as “Austin’s largest Juneteenth celebration” and will be held this Saturday, June 18. The event includes Black-owned food trucks, live music and artisan and retail vendors. Tickets for the event start at $15, with $1 of each sale going towards the Austin Revitalization Authority, a community and economic development non-profit that facilitates residential, commercial and cultural development and historical preservation in the 11th and 12th Street redevelopment area.
For live music, local chef demonstrations and raffles, visit the Texas Farmers’ Markets at either of its locations over the weekend. The Lakeline location will celebrate the holiday on June 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., while the Mueller location will have its own events on June 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Shoppers can take in music from the Ange K Band at Lakeline and DJ Cysūm at Mueller as they pick up food for the week — or even a last minute Father’s Day gift.
The 2022 Historical Juneteenth Parade will start at the corner of MLK Jr. Boulevard and Salina Street on June 18 at 10 a.m., and make its way through a portion of East Austin before ending at the corner of Chestnut Avenue and Pleasant Valley at 2 p.m. From there, a park festival complete with vendors, live entertainment and firework show will take place at Rosewood & Boggy Creek Park until 10 p.m. Sponsors for this celebratory event include the City of Austin, Greater East Austin Youth Association and the Austin Parks Foundation, among others.
On June 19, The Cathedral will be home to a Juneteenth Retreat hosted by Nicole Cardoza from noon to 6 p.m. The day is meant to foster connection and celebration with local Black artists and makers. Programming includes a restorative yoga session with Kaila N. Parker, Black art curated in partnership with atxGALS, refreshments from Nosh’d Luxury Snacks and much more. Tickets are available for $19. Half of all ticket sales will be donated to Black Trans Leadership Austin.
Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group, the restaurant group that manages Emmer & Rye, Hestia, Canje, Kalimotxo, Henbit and TLV, will conduct a company-wide percentage night benefiting Neill-Cochran House Museum on June 19, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Visit any of the group’s restaurants for a delicious meal on Juneteenth and a percentage of the evening’s proceeds will go towards supporting the historic Texas landmark.
The 8th Annual Juneteenth Music Festival will honor and appreciate the African American experience with music from guest artist Bavu Blakes, along with the Austin All-Star Band, the Austin All-Star Black and Gold Dancers and the Austin All-Star A-Train Drumline. The all-ages event will take place on June 17, from 6 p.m to 9 p.m., at the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center.