Now a national holiday, local Juneteenth celebrations feature family, food, reflection


There are several Juneteenth events taking place throughout the greater Savannah area. If you’re wondering what’s happening and where you can go to celebrate Juneteenth this year, here’s a list of several Juneteenth observances, events and celebrations taking place locally.

Jepson Center Juneteenth Lecture

On Thursday, June 16 at 6 p.m., the Jepson Center will host a special Juneteenth lecture called “Turning Freedom Dreams into Reality: Black Activism in the Georgia Low Country.” Dr. Allison Dorsey, who is a professor of History at Swarthmore College, will speak about how Black men and women in the region began life as freed people after the Civil War. 

Savannah African Art Museum Juneteenth Celebration

Saturday, June 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Savannah African Art Museum will host its second annual Juneteenth Celebration on the museum grounds. The event will feature music and dancing, spoken word performances by Deep Slam artists, a diaspora marketplace, African food samples and more. Attendees can look forward to tours of the museum’s West African collection as well. This year’s theme for the festival is Sankofa, which is a Ghanian concept that speaks to the importance of the past in preparing for the future. Thusly, the festivities will reflect on and honor the past while celebrating the future. 

Tybee MLK Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom

On June 18 and 19 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Tybee MLK Human Rights Organization will hold a special celebration of freedom to commemorate Juneteenth. Traditionally held at North Beach, this is the first year that the celebration will take place at South Beach’s pier and pavilion. There will be Afro-centric vendors, live music, entertainment, and speakers at this two-day celebration. And on Sunday, June 19, at 9 a.m. there will be a special beach wade-in, where attendees will wade into the water commemorating Juneteenth and also the end of segregation on the beach. 

Daffin Park Juneteenth Celebration Festival

On Saturday, June 18 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, June 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., there will be a Juneteenth Celebration Festival at Daffin Park. Put on by the Black & Minority Business Network of Southeast Georgia, the two-day festival will feature live music, poetry, storytelling, dancing, vendors and more. Christian recording artist Todd Galbret will perform in addition to various local artists. It’s a family-friendly festival that will include bounce houses and water slides for kids and a fun scavenger hunt. There will also be food trucks on site and wine tastings. 

Jepson Center Juneteenth Family Day

The Jepson Center will host a free family day on June 18, with Juneteenth activities taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a libation ceremony, drumming and an appearance by the African Spirit at 1 p.m. Families can enjoy hands-on art making activities from 1 to 4 p.m. There will also be artist demonstrations of Gullah/Geechee basket making and dollmaking. Attendees can look forward to performances including storytelling, African dance by Kwanzaa Collective 365, and a musical performance by the Bailey Sounding Angels of Joy from the United House of Prayer. The event is free to all local residents from Chatham, Bryan, Liberty, Effingham, Beaufort and Jasper counties. 

Wells Park Juneteenth Festival

On Saturday, June 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., The Daughters of Mary Magdalene will host a special Juneteenth Festival in Savannah at Wells Park. This family-friendly festival will educate, entertain and inspire with live music, dancing, face painting, games and more. Performers include the Tommy Stokes Band, the ILA Gospel Band, Ra Search, Brothesr Balance, the Hispanic Dance Ensemble and many others. 

Pooler Juneteenth Festival

Pooler will host its first-ever Juneteenth Festival on Sunday, June 19 from 12 to 5 p.m. at the Tanger Outlets. There will be a health fair, live music, storytellers, guest speakers, vendors, games, food trucks and more. The festival is produced by the Pooler Juneteenth Celebration Committee, which works to educate the public about the significance of Juneteenth and acknowledge the end of slavery in the United States while honoring the fortitude of African American people. 


Chantel Britton

Chantel Britton is a compelling storyteller with an ever-growing curiosity. She's built a rewarding writing career for herself in addition to serving five years as a Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. She's an NPR nerd with a deep passion for all things travel, sustainable living and adventure. She...
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