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Juneteenth in the Twin Cities: What’s open, what’s closed and what’s on tap

Twin Cities Pioneer Press logo Twin Cities Pioneer Press 6/17/2022 Frederick Melo
Mikella Graham, 5, from Brooklyn Park talks about her painting at the 2021 Juneteenth Freedom Celebration at Allianz Field in St. Paul on Saturday, June 19, 2021. The event brought together vendors and artist and offered vaccinations groceries. Ramsey County partnered with Minnesota United to host the event. (John Autey / Pioneer Press) © Provided by Twin Cities Pioneer Press Mikella Graham, 5, from Brooklyn Park talks about her painting at the 2021 Juneteenth Freedom Celebration at Allianz Field in St. Paul on Saturday, June 19, 2021. The event brought together vendors and artist and offered vaccinations groceries. Ramsey County partnered with Minnesota United to host the event. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

Slavery officially ended in the United States with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but it would take some two and a half years and a contingent of federal troops to make that legal reality true in flesh and deed for enslaved people on the island city of Galveston, Texas. On a summer’s day in 1865, the last of the slaves were finally freed.

Juneteenth — the June 19th federal holiday signed into law last year — not only marks the date when slavery ended, but it serves as a reminder that justice delayed is justice denied. The holiday lands on a Sunday this year, meaning it will be observed on Monday by banks, most federal offices, the U.S. Postal Service and stock and bond markets. Most private businesses will remain open.

It will also be observed Monday by many individual cities, including St. Paul and Minneapolis. In St. Paul, libraries will be closed and parking meters will be free on both Sunday and Monday. St. Paul rec centers that have Sunday hours will remain open on Sunday, and rec centers will also host regular hours on Monday.

As holidays go, “it’s progressively become more and more popular,” said Linda Cobb, administrative director for the Rondo Center for Diverse Expression, which has invited CNN host Laura Coates, Gov. Tim Walz and historical re-enactors to its Juneteenth celebration at the Rondo Commemorative Plaza in St. Paul on Sunday.

Several state lawmakers have proposed that the date become a Minnesota state holiday and paid day off for state employees, though legislation to that effect has yet to be approved.

Juneteenth events have rolled out throughout June at libraries, museums and history centers and continue this weekend at the following locations. Be advised that a warm front this weekend is expected to bring dangerously high temperatures Sunday and Monday.


Juneteenth at Sun Ray Library Garden: A free Juneteenth celebration featuring live performances, food, games, crafts and photos unfolds from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the Sun Ray Library Garden, 2105 Wilson Ave. in St. Paul. The event is supported by the American Library Association, National Endowment for the Humanities and Minnesota’s Arts and Culture Heritage Fund.

Sweet Potato Pie Comfort Pie Jubilee: Rose McGee, the founder of Golden Valley-based Sweet Potato Comfort Pie, will host a pie bake-off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Arts Us/Dunning Recreation Center on 1221 Marshall Ave. in St. Paul. The pies will be judged by “celebrity judges” and the top three winners will advance to a second round of judging on Wednesday. Contact for information.

Video: Juneteenth celebrations underway in Minneapolis (KARE-TV Minneapolis-St. Paul)


Carty Park: The Sterling Club and Midway Rise UP are hosting a Juneteenth celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Carty Park, 700 Iglehart Ave. in St. Paul. The free event will feature food, entertainment and speakers Mahmoud El-Kati and Spike Moss.

YWCA St. Paul at Boyd Park: The YWCA will host “Juneteenth: A Celebration With Music and Community” from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Boyd Park, 335 Selby Ave. Free music and children’s activities. Food available from food truck vendors. A livestream begins at 3 p.m. Visit

NAACP Freedom Fund Gala: The NAACP will host its St. Paul Roy Wilkins Freedom Fund Gala on Saturday evening at the Intercontinental Hotel in St. Paul. The dinner will feature a keynote address from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, as well as remarks by Angela Davis, Chef Tre Hardy, Lifetime Achievement and Community Service awards. The event is sold out.


Juneteenth Film on SPNN: The St. Paul Neighborhood Network will broadcast a film by OMG Media celebrating Black history, art, music and literature at 9 a.m. on its cable access station. The film features a tribute to George Floyd and Philando Castile by artists Ta-coumba Aiken and Seitu Jones. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter provides an introduction. Visit

Rondo Block Party: The Rondo Center of Diverse Expression will present a free block party and recognition ceremony from noon to 6 p.m. at the Rondo Commemorative Plaza, 820 Concordia Ave., and on Fisk Street between Carroll and Concordia avenues in St. Paul. CNN host Laura Coates and Lee Jordan, Midwest director of the National Juneteenth Committee, will join Gov. Tim Walz and other elected officials for the formal program, which runs from 3 to 4:15 p.m. The schedule includes music and dance performances, historical re-enactors, games, give-aways, author conversations and food trucks, ending with free cupcakes from Red Velvet Cupcakes. Citations for civic service will be presented to Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter and St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell. Exhibitors include Regions Hospital, the Ramsey County Historical Society, St. Paul College, the St. Paul Fire Department, the Science Museum of Minnesota and others.

Community Grilling: Project Restore and the Twin Cities Radio Network will host a community grilling event from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Carty Park, 1105 Iglehart Ave. in St. Paul. Residents are asked to bring their own tables, chairs, grills and food and participate in the “Juneteenth Kitchen.”  Also on tap are a bounce house, a Father’s Day recognition ceremony, a grocery and bicycle give-away and vendor booths, including a vaccination clinic sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Juneteenth Celebration Roseville: The city of Roseville, M Health Fairview and Do Good Roseville are partnering on their fifth annual Juneteenth celebration from 4 to 8 p.m. at Frank Rog Ampitheater in Central Park, 2540 Lexington Ave. N. The celebration will feature a DJ, a singer, dancers, business and nonprofit booths.

Clark Grace United Church of Christ: The Rev. Oliver White will host a community conversation around Juneteenth at 6 p.m. at the Clark Grace United Church of Christ, 779 15th Ave. N., South St. Paul.

Dodge Nature Center: The Residents of Color Collective will host a solidarity walk, food trucks, vendors and music from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Dodge Nature Center, 365 Marie Ave. W. in West St. Paul.


Rooted in Rondo: The St. Paul Almanac, St. Paul Neighborhood Network and WFNU Frogtown Community Radio will present a free film screening of “Rooted in Rondo,” a youth-produced documentary about the people and places of the Rondo neighborhood. The event takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. at CHS Field’s Securian Financial Club, 360 North Broadway St. in downtown St. Paul and will feature a panel discussion, light appetizers and a cash bar.

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