Buffalo is a highly dynamic and diverse city that boasts one of the largest and longest-standing Juneteenth celebrations.

2024 marks the 49th year that the Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo, Inc., is hosting its Juneteenth Celebration and Parade in East Buffalo.

The global COVID-19 pandemic caused the festival to be virtual for 2020 and 2021, but after the two-year digital diversion that the whole world took, it returned to being an in-person celebration starting again in 2022. Each year since, it has grown even bigger than it was the year before.

Juneteenth Celebrated On The Federal Holiday In Nation's Capital
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What Is Juneteenth?

According to the Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo website, Juneteenth is the oldest known observance of the ending of slavery in the United States. According to historical records, the celebration began on June 19, 1865, the day Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army rode into Galveston, Texas, in the final execution of the Emancipation Proclamation.

READ MORE: What Is Juneteenth and Why You Should Celebrate It

The word Juneteenth itself is a portmanteau, or combination, of the words June and nineteenth, which is the day that it is typically celebrated.

What's Happening During The 49th Annual Juneteenth Celebration in Buffalo?

This year's celebration kicked off on Friday, June 7, 2024, when the Juneteenth Committee and the city of Buffalo raised the African-American Pride flag in Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo.

This year's Juneteenth theme is We Are Our Ancestors' Wildest Dreams.

Then, starting on Saturday, June 8, 2024, the monthly activities are called Sankofa Days. Sankofa is a Swahili term that means it's okay to go back into our past and bring forth wisdom from our Ancestors into our present. The events during Sankofa Days include a variety of things that are meant to help engage the community in cultural arts, sciences, and various financial and empowerment skills.

Ed Nice Jackson / Townsquare Media
Ed Nice Jackson / Townsquare Media

The crown jewel of the entire celebration is the Grand Parade and festival set to take place on Saturday, June 17, 2023, beginning at 10 am. This time is new, as the festival and parade in previous years started at 11 am.

The Parade starts on Genesee Street at Moselle Street, right across the street from the Juneteenth headquarters, and runs down the street just about one mile until entering MLK Park at Fillmore Avenue and Best Street.

From there, a massive street festival takes place for the remainder of Saturday and all day Sunday in celebration of the end of American slavery. The festival will feature all sorts of food, music, community resources, performances, and historical information about our heritage.

If you'd like to become more involved in this year's activities, the full list is on the Juneteenth of Buffalo website.

Buffalo's 48th Juneteenth Celebration, Parade, and Festival

Western New York celebrates its 48th Annual Juneteenth Parade and Festival on June 17, 2023, in Buffalo's MLK Park Neighborhood. The Grand Parade starts on Genesee Avenue and travels one mile before turning into the historic MLK Park where the festival takes place. Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery after the end of the US Civil War.

Gallery Credit: Ed Nice

Different Ways To Celebrate Juneteenth All Year

Community Gathering for Reflection, Healing, and Hope in Buffalo

Several hundred people descended upon filled More than 16,000 people piled into the Johnnie B Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion on Jefferson Ave to focus on reflection, healing, and hope in response to the aftermath of that terrible act of domestic terrorism. The Community Gathering for Reflection, Healing, and Hope occured on Saturday, May 13, 2023. It featured entertainment and activities to help honor the lives that were lost and impacted during the mass shooting in Buffalo 1 year ago.

Gallery Credit: Ed Nice

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