June in South Carolina is a time of widespread festivities as people across the state observe one of the most time-honored African American celebrations. Also known as “Freedom Day,” Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans by Union soldiers in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. The rejoicing that emanated lives on today and has found meaningful expression through events that mark this monumental moment in our nation’s history as a time for both reflection and fun. Here are some of the biggest and best Juneteenth celebrations in South Carolina.
Juneteenth Freedom Festival, Columbia
This multi-day festival begins with a host of interesting seminars and educational programs offered at various locations across town. The energy ramps up with an exciting two-day carnival at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds featuring musical artists and performers, food trucks, carnival rides, games, exhibitors and more for big-time family fun. Visit the website for ticket info.
Juneteenth Family Fest, North Charleston
Riverfront Park is the setting for this daylong celebration that honors the area’s Gullah Geechee roots. This family event is packed with a rich lineup of artistic performances, live music, kiddie games, art displays, vendors and food. For the grand finale, sit back and watch spectacular fireworks light up the Lowcountry sky. Free admission.
Lowcountry Juneteenth Week & Festival, North Charleston
What’s better than a Juneteenth celebration? A whole week of Juneteenth celebrations! This fest has it all with a series of events happening across North Charleston designed to educate and empower through Gullah arts and culture. Things comes to a rousing close with a ticketed live music concert. Visit the website for events, dates, times and scheduled performers.
Juneteenth GVL Mega Fest, Greenville
Downtown Greenville makes a vibrant stage for this Juneteenth festival set to make its debut in 2022. With freedom, unity and leadership as themes, the community gathering revolves around a full day of live music, art, games, food, vendors, fashion and family entertainment. Free admission.
Juneteenth Celebration, Hilton Head Island
Come to Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park for a rich cultural experience that explores the past, celebrates the present and envisions a brighter future. Bring your chairs and enjoy the soulful sounds of musical acts steeped in Gullah tradition. Learn about African-American culture in the Lowcountry, sample local foods, watch demonstrations and let the little ones expend some energy in the Kid Zone. The park, once home to the nation’s first self-governing group of freed African Americans, makes a fitting setting for this unforgettable event. Check the website for admission price.
Juneteenth Rock Hill
Reflection, remembrance and rejoicing—all are part of this robust weekend affair celebrating African American history, contributions and community. Guest speakers, live performances, educational programs, local and regional artists and food truck fare will enlighten, entertain and delight. Check the website for locations and admission info.