Juneteenth or “Freedom Day” is a memorable holiday in American History to celebrate the emancipation of those enslaved in the United States. That day was June 19, 1865, when Union officer Major General Gordon Granger arrived at the remote island city of Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and all slaves were now free.
Given its significance to the African-American community and American history,, it’s no surprise that it’s one of my favorite holidays – a special day to celebrate my heritage and honor African Americans past and present. African Americans have a long history of serving the United States long before being awarded their citizenship or freedom. That tradition continued in my family with my father serving in the Navy. These are notable aspects to the holiday that I hold such importance.
I enjoy celebrating Juneteenth with foods that have historical significance, including red food such as “red drink,” representing our ancestors and their bloodshed. Prosperity foods like black-eyed peas, cornbread, and greens. I’m Southern-bred and soul-infused, so my Lowcountry staples are red velvet cake, sweet potatoes, and red rice with sausage.
Juneteenth celebrations are about cultural connection, gathering together with family and friends. This year I’m looking forward to celebrating with the community in my home state of South Carolina at the inaugural Juneteenth Freedom Fest Charleston.
Juneteenth Freedom Fest Charleston
Juneteenth Freedom Fest Charleston is set for Saturday, June 19, from 2 pm – 10 pm at the North Charleston Riverfront Park. The event is free to the public and open to all ages, from your grandparents to young children. So with the family in tow, we are looking forward to enjoying live performances, artwork, music, food, youth poetry, and of course, activities for the little ones. My family loves Caribbean and so we’re looking forward to visiting the Caribbean Creole Food Truck. The Fest is being joined by Higher Education Institutions and Universities, non-profits organizations, and local community service vendors to create an engaging day-long cultural experience. So whether you want to learn more about the culture or pick up unique finds for home, there will be something for everyone. And to close out the day – fireworks. I’m excited to experience all the sights and sounds with the family.
Having Fun with Kids in Tow
Any opportunity to expose my children to cultural events is always at the top of my list. Still, their attention span is limited, so it’s essential to have activities for the kids too. Juneteenth Freedom Fest Charleston is set to be accessible for families with young children, strollers, and various activities suitable for the little ones. The Greenheart Project will have an engaging activity station to teach kids about growing their own food. For kids with lots of energy, there will also be bouncing houses to play in.
I love to cook, but I also love discovering new cuisines, so I am excited to try the various Southern and Lowcountry fare from all the food vendors, restaurants, and brands participating in the day. I love sauces, jellies, seasonings, and wines, so I will be bringing a large bag to take delicious goodies back home.
Whether you live in Charleston or are thinking about visiting for Juneteenth, Charleston has so much to see. It’s a beautiful coastal city with lush landscapes and seaside views. If you head to Juneteenth Freedom Fest a few places to see and things to explore.
Charleston is home to many in the Gullah Geechee community. We are descendants of enslaved Africans who lived in coastal areas of South Carolina, Georgia, and surrounding sea islands. Even today, you will find intricately handwoven sweetgrass baskets and roses made by the Gullah people. Be sure to discover these handwoven beauties while you are in the city.
In Downtown Charleston is a charming lifestyle shop Tiny Tassel and Charleston is home to the Cocktail Bandits; Taneka Reaves and Johnny Caldwell, local entrepreneurs and authors of the book Holy Spirits! Charleston Culture Through Cocktails. Be sure to discover hand-blown colored glasses by Estelle Colored Glass. Fresh Future Farm offers farm-quality food access through their grocery store and floral company Salt & Stem, a wandering flower truck.
***This post was sponsored by Juneteenth Freedom Fest Charleston. All opinions are my own.***