“Free and Clear: The Evolution of Juneteenth”  from Jefferson Avenue to Martin Luther King  Park, to the Worldwide Web

When one considers the hurdles that people of color have endured for generations, it seems that we’re always working harder to gain wealth, to catch up, and too often fail to close the disparate gaps in education, and the American dream of success.  

For the 45th consecutive festival, Juneteenth Buffalo’s Board of Directors, committees, sponsors, and community supporters are not trying to “catch up,” but we are being original, innovative and creative with our plans for the 45th consecutive, and first ever, virtual festival.

 Buffalo’s annual outdoor event has been designated as the third largest in the nation, and is said to be one the largest Juneteenth Festivals of all those hosted in these United States.  The hope for Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo 2020, Online: “Free and Clear; the Evolution of Juneteenth,” is to deliver a quality festival, via non-traditional formats. 

Beginning Friday, June 5, you’ll find specific festival-related content on the following platforms: Facebook (Juneteenth of Buffalo Festival); juneteenthofbuffalo.com; Instagram; YouTube (Juneteenth of Buffalo Festival); Tic Tok; Twitter; and BWNY News.  

 With respect and consideration of our vendors,  who’ve brought to the Festival, the best-tasting food; unique merchandise; and community support services, since the festival’s inception in 1976, there is absolutely no charge to ‘vend’ or advertise, in the midst of the virtual festival.  It’s not too late to forward your pictures, and/or, audio-video content to juneteenthfestivalinc@gmail.com.  Include your contact information with your submission.   

 So, power up your phones, tablets, laptops, and any other devices you use to connect to the rest of the world; and enjoy this year’s festival.

Juneteenth of Buffalo 2020, Online Festival Schedule

Fri., June 5, 2020, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Liberation flag-raising at Juneteenth Buffalo Headquarters, 1517 Genesee St.  at Moselle – (traditionally held in Niagara Sq., but due to current restrictions, we’re moving to our parking lot, and will honor the recommendations of physical/social distancing, and wearing PPE.) 

Mon. – Fri., June 8 – 12, 2020 – 6:00 p.m. – Sankofa Days; Educational and enriching content that will provide information that focuses on faith, finances, healthy-living (self-care), and other issues that impact the African American community.

Sat., June 13 and Sun., June 14, 2020 – The ‘Official’ Festival Days

•10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Prayer, Praise, & Worship w/Pastor Anita Williams

•11:00 a.m. – The Parade – Join Chair, Patrick Cray, as he spearheads this year’s opener. (Remember, it’s not outdoors on Genesee St.)

•12:00 noon– The History of Juneteenth – Journey from the Festival’s Jefferson Avenue beginnings, in 1976 to 2020, and make a lot of stops along the way. – Various speakers 

•1:00 p.m. – Arts and Culture ‘Stage’ – Chair, Ron Draffin, brings dynamic artists, to the stage, to share their stories through music, spoken word, and other creative means.

•2:30 p.m. – Children and Youth – Activities and easy-to-make projects, hosted by Chairs, Miata Wright and Taminka Jones

•3:30 p.m. – Edutainment Stage – Chair, Goodne$$’ stage will showcase new artists and we’ll see and hear this “Queen of the Art of Spoken Word” ‘bring IT’.  “Get ‘Em”   

•5 p.m. – Entertainment Stage – Check out this year’s artists, in the comfort of your own home, and feel like you’re sitting before the mainstage, in MLK, Jr. Park. Chair, Louise Clyburn, has done it again, delivering some of the best mellow music masters to our Buffalo stage.

•6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Live Zoom party! The link to access (your ticket to join the party) will be in the June 10, 2020 edition of the Challenger.  Capacity is limited to 100 guests! 

***NOTE: These events do not constitute the entire festival. The times are extremely flexible, and don’t currently include the live performances or content submitted by many other hard-working Juneteenth committees and festival supporters.