From the spirituals honoring elders and ancestors at the outset to the inimitable smell of barbecue and a full afternoon of incredible music, Marin City’s fifth annual Juneteenth Festival at Rocky Graham Park in 2021 was a joy to behold. On June 19, it returns with a pair of themes: “Looking Towards the Future” and “Global Connections.”

The nation’s 12th national holiday ​officially recognizes Juneteeth – on June 19th – as the oldest celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It originated in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to commemorate when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. It was about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in Southern states.

Oshalla Diana Marcus, Marin City Arts and Culture director, is among the organizers of the annual Marin City event, seeking to put Juneteenth within a proper historical context for those who need it. Presented by the Marin Community Services District, Play Marin and a network of Black entrepreneurs and residents, the event spans a full day of food, vendors, musical performances and speeches.

The event features Marin County’s only Annual Open Air African Marketplace to stock up on classic items and visit service booths featuring community organizations. Arrive early to participate in the ritual opening ceremony. Organizers says you can expect the usual: A beautiful in nature setting, safe, secure, family fun, inspirational music, dance, theater, delicious food, free childcare with art and crafts, bounce tent and a roving life sized puppet! The popular Horseback ride in the park is returning.

Enjoy Marin County’s only Annual Open Air African Marketplace to stock up on classic items such as fresh locally sourced African Coffee, Baskets, Shea & Karite Butter, Black Soap, traditional clothing and fabrics, as well as hand made contemporary fashion, books, curriculum for educators and service booths featuring community organizations.

Admission is free, but donations to offset costs are welcome.


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