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Where to Celebrate Juneteenth 2024 in San Diego

12 San Diego County community events honoring the day Union troops freed more than 250,000 enslaved Americans
SD Melanin Juneteenth event in San Diego at the Quartyard downtown
Courtesy of SD Melanin

President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in Confederate states on Jan. 1, 1863. However, the executive order could not be fully enforced in places still under Confederate control while the Civil War continued. Two-and-a-half years later, on June 19, 1865, freedom finally came to Galveston Bay, Texas. General Gordon Granger arrived with his Union troops and announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas were emancipated by executive decree. The day came to be called Juneteenth

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day, was first formally recognized as a holiday in Texas in 1980. Americans grew more aware of Juneteenth in 2020 amid the nationwide protests against police brutality after the killings of Black Americans George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. In response to the push for federal recognition of Juneteenth, President Joe Biden signed the legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday in June 2021. In June 2023, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared it a state holiday.

Juneteenth is now recognized and celebrated in some form in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Join in on the Juneteenth jubilee with these 12 events around San Diego County.

San Diego Juneteenth events featuring the Juneteenth Celebration Festival hosted by the North San Diego County NAACP
Courtesy of SD Melanin

San Diego Juneteenth Events in 2024

Juneteenth Celebration Festival in Oceanside

Saturday, June 15

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., honor Juneteenth in downtown Oceanside at this long-standing annual festival. Hosted by the North San Diego County NAACP, the free event offers live music, a vendor marketplace, food, informational health booths, and a youth area, which will feature games, face painting, crafts, and other kids’ activities. Enjoy live entertainment from professional and local performers, including a “Juneteenth Got Talent” competition.

300 North Coast Highway, Oceanside

Juneteenth Summer BBQ in La Jolla

Saturday, June 15

Wear your swimsuit or your Spandex for the fourth iteration of this annual community event at La Jolla Shores. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy the scenery of the Shores with complimentary surf lessons, community yoga, live music, a beach volleyball tournament, a group run, and more. Registration is required to enjoy the free barbecue. There will also be an organized beach clean-up and a kids’ corner at the family-friendly event.

8303 Camino Del Oro, La Jolla

San Diego Juneteenth events featuring the Cooper Family Juneteenth Healing the Community Festival
Courtesy of The Cooper Family Foundation

Cooper Family Juneteenth Healing the Community Festival

Saturday, June 15

In honor of Sidney Cooper Sr., a Black businessman and Juneteenth trailblazer in San Diego, the Cooper Family Foundation has kept this important community event going for more than 50 years. This year’s Juneteenth Healing the Community Festival will feature two stages with a full line-up of musical acts, including African dancers and a drumline, plus food trucks, raffles, and a kids’ zone at Memorial Park from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

2975 Ocean View Blvd., Logan Heights

Kinfolk Fest at Waterfront Park

Saturday, June 15

Organized by SD Melanin, the seventh annual Juneteenth Kinfolk event will bring a cultural celebration to downtown’s Waterfront Park. From 12 to 9 p.m., attendees aged 21 and up can experience live performances, curated DJ sets, dynamic art installations, and wellness activities while enjoying food and drinks. Tickets start at $25.

1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego

San Diego Juneteenth events featuring the R&B Block Party at the Quartyard in East Village
Courtesy of SD Melanin

R&B Block Party at Quartyard

Saturday, June 15

The annual R&B Block Party returns to craft beer garden Quartyard in East Village. From 5 to 10 p.m., resident DJs and some special guests will spin genre-spanning hits, from ’70s dance hall reggae and Caribbean beats to R&B favorites from the ’90s and aughts. Tickets start at $20.

1301 Market Street, San Diego

Juneteenth Children’s Book Distribution at Oak Park Library

Saturday, June 15

The Oak Park Library branch will celebrate Juneteenth with a special children’s book giveaway from 12 to 1 p.m. The holiday is especially significant to this library branch because civil rights leader John Lewis was present at the branch’s opening more than 50 years ago and returned decades later to speak to the local community. Librarians will distribute books and provide light refreshments while supplies last.

2802 54th Street, San Diego

Courtesy of La Mesa Juneteenth

La Mesa Juneteenth & Friends

Sunday, June 16

You won’t want to miss the live entertainment at La Mesa’s third annual Juneteenth event at MacArthur Park from 12 to 4 p.m. The free festival features performances by the MLK Jr. Community Choir, African drummers, and spoken word artists. There will also be a kids’ zone with bounce houses, games, crafts, face painting, and more. Bring a chair and stick around for the family-friendly fun.

4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa

Midnight Diner Juneteenth Edition at Quiet Storm Roasters & Bakers

Tuesday, June 18

For a memorable dining experience, head to Quiet Storm Roasters & Bakers in Hillcrest. From 11:30 p.m. on June 18 to 3 a.m. on June 19, you can enjoy late-night eats and curated beats at the shop’s Midnight Diner event. The cultural celebration provides tapas-style plates inspired by the African diaspora with an Asian twist, while local DJs spin R&B classics and Jersey club songs. Tickets are $20 for a reserved seat, a main plate, a mini plate, and a sake shot to take at midnight.

3590 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Courtesy of Fit, Black, and Educated, Inc.

Juneteenth Celebration Virtual 5K

Wednesday, June 19

Join more than 200 people nationwide to celebrate the holiday by running, walking, hiking, or cycling a 5K (3.1 miles) in the annual Juneteenth Celebration Virtual 5K. Simply register for the virtual race in advance to get a race bib and finisher’s medal, then log your distance any time between June 19 and August 17. Proceeds will directly support the San Diego-based health organization Fit, Black, and Educated. Registration is $25.


Juneteenth Celebration Show at Jamul Casino

Wednesday, June 19

Jamul Casino will host a musical Juneteenth Celebration featuring Alyssa Raghu from American Idol and Lorie V. Moore from The X Factor. At 6 p.m. you can enjoy dinner at The Rooftop event venue at the casino while you listen to both artists’ R&B tunes.

14145 Campo Road, Jamul

Courtesy of San Diego Art Directory

Black in Art Juneteenth Celebration at Otay Ranch Branch Library

Friday, June 21

Beginning at 4:30 p.m., you can peruse the work of Black artists and art organizations, including the San Diego Art Directory and Liberation Through Art, at this Juneteenth event at the Otay Ranch Branch Library in Chula Vista. Food will be provided for guests.

2015 Birch Road, Chula Vista

Juneteenth at Chollas Lake

Saturday, June 22

Hosted in collaboration with the Community Actors Theatre, the annual Juneteenth at Chollas Lake offers live entertainment and the chance to learn more about the history of Juneteenth. Explore music, dance, poetry, food, local vendor booths, and crafts at this family-friendly, outdoor event at Gloria’s Mesa Amphitheater in Chollas Lake Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bring a pillow or a comfy seat and enjoy the day.

6050 College Grove Drive, San Diego

By Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis is a writer, editor and aficionado of hiking, crafting and thrifting. She is an adjunct professor in journalism at Point Loma Nazarene University, and she lives in Escondido with her husband and three daughters.

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