Overlapping red, black and green hearts, Juneteenth

Celebrating Juneteenth: 10 Events that Stand Out


This June, communities across Illinois will come together to commemorate Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth festivals offer a chance to reflect on the long road to freedom while also celebrating African American culture through music, food, dance, and community. The events highlighted here offer a chance for people of all backgrounds to gain a deeper understanding of history while also enjoying a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.

Brightly colored red, yellow, and green letters spelling Juneteenth - Celebrate Freedom

June 17, 2023 | 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM

Aurora | 2023 Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Celebration

Hosted by: African American Men of Unity (AAMOU)

Commemorate African American heritage and help support Black-owned businesses with music, live entertainment, African American History tributes, poetry, food & craft vendors, chess tournaments and more.

What makes it stand out?

This event has it all. Get down and win a dance contest. Show off your double dutch skills. Or take your team to the championship in a basketball tourney. More information…

June 19, 2023 | 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Chicago | Juneteenth Community BBQ

Hosted by: DuSable Museum of African American History

Celebrate Juneteenth with the DuSable Museum! Join us for a day of family-friendly activities, including arts and crafts, music, dance, and storytelling. Learn about the history of Juneteenth and the contributions of African Americans to our country. This event is free with museum admission.

What makes it stand out?

What makes it different: This is truly a family-friendly event, with plenty to keep young ones busy (like games, inflatables and a petting zoo) and places for adults to find a seat, and grab a bite to eat. Horseback riding. More information…

June 17, 2023 | 11:00 AM to 6:30 PM

Flossmoor | Homewood-Flossmoor Juneteenth Festival

Hosted by: You Matter 2

The Homewood-Flossmoor (HF) Juneteenth Festival organized by You Matter 2 is a celebration of African American culture as expressed through food, music, dance, and arts. The group’s mission is to provide an environment that celebrates and showcases the uniqueness, power, and endurance of African Americans.

What makes it stand out?

This is the biggest Juneteenth celebration in South Suburban Cook County. More information…

June 19, 2023 | 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Hillside | Juneteenth & Father’s Day Festival

Hosted by: 7th District State Rep and Speaker of the House Emanuel “Chris” Welch

Join 7th District State Rep and Speaker of the House Emanuel “Chris” Welch for Our Annual Juneteenth and Father’s Day Festival. The event is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy free food and drinks, games and activities, bounce houses, and to take advantage of the opportunity to learn about and support local businesses, artists and entertainers.

What makes it stand out?

This Juneteenth event will feature over 30 local vendors and community service organizations, live performances by Chicago rising star, Nyla XO, the infamous Jesse White Tumblers, the soul stirring Ayodele Dance and Drum group, the Proviso West High School drumline, and more. In addition to the 7th District Senator and local Mayors, many statewide officials have also RSVP’d their attendance including: Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, State Comptroller Susana Mendoza, State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. More information…

June 18, 2023 | 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Joliet | Friends and Family Day

Hosted by: Joliet Juneteenth Committee

There will be food, a mobile arcade with all the latest games (Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, Meta Quest Virtual Reality) jumpy house and other inflatables. For adults we have BINGO, Music by DJ Marcus and much, much more.

What makes it stand out?

Special appearance by the Black Panther and Baby Shark! More information…

June 16-19, 2023

Kankakee | YouthPalooza and Juneteenth Freedom Fest

Hosted by: Juneteenth Celebration Community Council and K3 Youth Empowerment

The Juneteenth Freedom Festival is an event hosted by the Juneteenth Celebration Community Council on Saturday, June 17th, 2023 at Pioneer Park in Kankakee. The festivities begin at 12pm and finish (about 8 PM) with a fireworks display viewable from all surrounding areas of Pioneer Park.

What makes it stand out?

Like Aunt Martha’s, young people help plan and organize this event so it’s got plenty to offer for all ages – including big kids who might be interested in the Kick Ball Classic (Saturday, Noon to 2 PM). Oh yeah, there’s also a Volleyball Tourney with a cash prize, and live DJs. More information…

June 17, 2023 | 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Peoria | Freedom Fest Juneteenth Commemoration and CommUnity Celebration

Hosted by: Southside Community Center

Dj live, music, bbq, red velvet cake, business and resource vendors, history and storytelling and more!

What makes it stand out?

The Juneteenth Commemoration and CommUnity Celebration are part of this year’s Freedom Fest. Saturday’s events are the centerpiece of a slate of activities that begin Wednesday, June 14 and continue through Monday, June 19. More information…

June 18-19, 2023

Rockford | 2023 Juneteenth Celebration

Hosted by: Tommy Meeks, President of ICRG (Inner City Reconstruction Group) and Founder of Rockford Juneteenth Celebrations

On Sunday, enjoy community church service from Pastor Alexander & Pastor Copeland in the morning, an all-black graduation in the afternoon, and live it up to a performance by DJ Dex and a Live at Levings Talent Show. Continue the celebration Monday with a talent show from RPS District 205, music from the John Stanford Band, ILLROCK Drum and Bugle Corp, and several more talented artist! Join the excitement by watching the Traditional Juneteenth Awards at 4:00 p.m. and the Juneteenth Community Awards at 5:45 p.m. End the celebrations with Soul Serious ft. Sondra B & Claire Morales from the UK.

What makes it stand out?

Join Illinois’ longest running Juneteenth celebration for their 31st year! More information…

June 16, 2023 | 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Springfield | Juneteenth Art Exhibition

Hosted by: Illinois State Museum

Get in a CREATIVE FLOW on June 16th, 2023, from 10AM to 2PM, at the Juneteenth Celebration Freeish Block Party! Come celebrate Juneteenth with food, music, Black artists, and Black owned businesses. The block party is happening just outside of the Illinois State Museum on Edwards Street.

What makes it stand out?

Need a break from the outside heat? Come inside the Illinois State Museum for kids’ activities about standing up for what is important to you. See yourself as an upstander with self-portrait drawings. Craft a button that expresses something you feel passionate about. Various Illinois State agencies will also have stations inside the museum with activities and information. While you’re inside, check out the 3rd annual NOIR exhibit in the lower-level Family Gallery. More information…

June 17-18, 2023

Woodstock | Juneteenth Art Exhibition

Hosted by: McHenry County Juneteenth Celebration Committee

Welcome to McHenry County’s first annual Juneteenth Festival dedicated to celebrating freedom, joy and empowerment. Join us for live music, inspiring speakers, delicious food trucks and family-friendly fun. This event is a chance to come together to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States and promote freedom and unity.

What makes it stand out?

The event in Woodstock represents the first ever such celebration in McHenry County. More information…

Juneteenth commemorates a crucial moment in America’s long, and continuing journey toward freedom and equality. While Juneteenth celebrations mark how far we’ve come, they also serve as a reminder of how far we still must go to build a society defined by liberty and justice for all.

Celebrate freedom, honor the sacrifices of the past, and renew your commitment to building a brighter future.

We hope you’ll have a memorable, meaningful, and safe Juneteenth!

Brightly colored red, yellow and green letters spelling Juneteenth Freedom Day.

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