Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, holds a special place in the hearts of millions of Americans.
The holiday marks the day when news of emancipation reached the enslaved people of Texas, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.
Over the years, Juneteenth has transformed into a lively and profound holiday celebrated across the country, especially in Mercer County. It serves as a poignant reminder of the hardships endured, the progress achieved and the ongoing pursuit of equality and justice.
Below is a compilation of Juneteenth community events in various locations throughout Mercer County that promise to delve into the holiday's rich history and cultural significance.
Saturday, June 3: African American History Bowl
The African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County and the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Inc. will host the 4th African American History Bowl.
This academic competition will take place at the New Jersey State Auditorium on West State Street in Trenton.
Youths aged 14 to 18 from local organizations are invited to participate. Cash prizes will be awarded.
Saturday, June 10: Juneteenth Celebration at Capital City Farm
The Mercer County Park Commission will host its annual Juneteenth event at its Capital City Farm on Saturday, June 10.
Free to attend, the event will highlight and celebrate the contributions of past and contemporary African American scientists, farmers and food advocates.
The engaging educational experience will include a scavenger hunt, literacy circle with free books, live music and free food. Visitors will also be able to pick fresh produce and flowers free of charge.
Capital City Farm is in the Coalport section of Trenton next to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.
Sunday, June 11: 1st Annual African Ancestry Reveal Experience
Knowing and being sure of your heritage is a privilege many take for granted. Accessing accurate records is often challenging for families whose ancestors were stolen during the Middle Passage.
However, modern genealogy advancements allow families to trace their roots and connect with their ancestors.
And for those uncertain of their African descent, the William Trent House invites you to explore your family tree on June 11.
The event will occur at 1719 William Trent House Museum on Market Street in Trenton, across from the Hughes Justice Complex. Co-hosted by the Trent House Association and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the event collaborates with African Ancestry, which has reportedly helped connect millions to their heritage.
Saturday, June 17: Juneteenth Weekend Finale
The Mercer County Park Festival Grounds in West Windsor welcomes a lineup of award-winning and renowned musical artists, both local and national. Some main attractions include Jeff Bradshaw, Carol Riddick, Pablo Perez "El Alcalde de la Salsa" and the B-Side band.
Festivities start at noon and end at 8 p.m. Last year’s event drew about 1,500 visitors. This year’s is expected to draw 2,500.
The musical talents from two esteemed local organizations, The Heart of Jazz and Los Bomberos de la Calle, will also perform.
Hosted by singer and songwriter Wendy Hicks, the musical extravaganza will feature two renowned DJs—Donald “Wiz” Davis and Ed Ward. Each will spin the hottest tracks, keeping the party alive with infectious beats and electrifying mixes.
That’s not all: The event will include a 30- and 50-mile bike tour by Exit 7A Riders, starting and ending at the Mercer County Park Grounds. Vendors, healthy living activities and arts and crafts for youth will also be available, providing a diverse and engaging experience.
The day-long celebration is hosted by the African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County in partnership with Senator Shirley Turner, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli, as well as the Mercer County Park Commission.
Saturday, June 24: Mercer County Juneteenth Business Expo
Free and open to the public, this event allows diverse people from all backgrounds to experience and learn about Black-owned businesses in Mercer County and discover the hidden jewels in the community.
The event, which supports small, Black-owned businesses while guests enjoy tasty bites, music and more, is hosted by three local organizations:
- The New Jersey Small Business Development Center at The College of New Jersey
- Mercer County Office of Economic Development
- Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital - Hamilton RWJ Barnabas Health (Hamilton)
Planned activities include:
- Food (while supplies last)
- Live DJ
- Prizes and Giveaways (no purchase necessary to enter the raffle, just come out and visit us at the Expo to claim your raffle ticket! You must be present to win!)
The event will be hosted at The Conference Center, located inside the RWJ Hamilton Center for Health & Wellness, at 3100 Quakerbridge Road in Hamilton. The facility is in the Clover Square shopping plaza on Sloan Avenue and Quakerbridge Road.
RSVP is required to secure your spot. It’s quick and easy too. Click here to RSVP in seconds.