7 Juneteenth events happening in the Mohawk Valley this month

Juneteenth won’t occur until next Sunday, but a kickoff event will be held in Utica’s Kemble Park this Saturday, followed by a number of other events in the coming weeks.

Motivated Minds along with the Hoops and Dreams program will host their second annual Pre-Juneteenth Kickoff event 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 11. Its goal is to bring awareness to the upcoming holiday as well as celebrate local youth, organizer Vanessa Tucker said in a statement.

Juneteenth marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when news arrived in Texas that slavery had been outlawed. While long observed among Black Americans, the holiday has gained more prominence within the past few years.

Past events:Anniversary of Emancipation celebrated at Juneteenth event at Chancellor Park in Utica

Past events:Juneteenth kickoff comes to Kemble Park in Utica this Saturday

Saturday’s event will feature local businesses, speakers on gun violence and performances from Kees The Beast, Tiara Mitchell and Leeky XIV. The event also will recognize a community leader with the organization’s second annual Robbie Dancy award, Tucker said.

  • Pre-Juneteenth Kickoff
    • What: A kickoff event to bring awareness to the Juneteenth holiday.
    • When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 11
    • Where: Kemble Park, James and Kemble streets, Utica (rain location at the Parkway Center, 220 Memorial Parkway, Utica)
    • To attend: Free to attend, food and other items available to purchase

Juneteenth events in the Mohawk Valley

Here are some other area Juneteenth events to look out for this month:

  • Underground Railroad Walking Tours
    • What: A tour of the Oneida County Freedom trail led by Jan DeAmicis and Mary Hayes Gordon.
    • When: 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 16, and Friday, June 17
    • Where: Meets at the Adirondack Bank Building Bleecker Street lot, 120 Bleecker St., Utica
    • To attend: Sign up at, tours limited to 25 people a night
  • Run Against Racism
    • What: Utica Roadrunners host their third annual Run Against Racism and first live event to celebrate the Cornhill Community and promote unity.
    • When: 7:30 a.m. bib pickup, 8:30 a.m. kids quarter-mile run, 9 a.m. 1.5- or 3-mile run/walk, Saturday, June 18
    • Where: Kemble Park, James and Kemble streets, Utica 
    • To attend: Sign up at, first 100 get a free T-shirt; free to attend but donations accepted
  • Utica’s Juneteenth Celebration
    • What: A celebration of African American heritage will be held at Chancellor Park, featuring live music, food, vendors and more.
    • When: Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 18
    • Where: Chancellor Park
    • To attend: Free to attend, vending opportunities available for a fee
  • Juneteenth Celebration, Rome
    • What: Barbecue, games, basketball, vendors, public speakers and educational programs will be hosted by the Copper City Collective on Juneteenth at Pinti Field in Rome.
    • When: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 18
    • Where: Pinti Field, 6th and Mohawk streets, Rome
    • To attend: Free to attend
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