Release Date: June 7,2022

Juneteenth Celebrations in West, East Akron and Lock 3

June 7, 2022, Akron, Ohio — Juneteenth celebrations in Akron will span three neighborhoods on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 17 - 19, 2022. Events are planned in West Akron, East Akron, and in Lock 3, downtown Akron. Highlights include a Community Talk Back on equality and equity at Perkins Stone Mansion, a West Akron Parade to Stoner/Hawkins Park, followed by the 24th Annual Juneteenth Festival in the park, a Juneteenth Festival in Joy Park in East Akron, and a ticketed dinner with facilitated conversation, and free concert in Lock 3 by the Unit Band.

All of the events except the ticketed dinner are free and open to all. A complete list with times and locations is listed below.

Akron Juneteenth Festival Coordinator Fela Sutton said, “Juneteenth is important to the Black community because it gives us a chance to get together and discuss things that are needed in our neighborhoods and communities. It's an opportunity to meet our neighbors and connect people with resources where their needs are at that moment.”

Community leader, Gerald R. Carter, who died in 2020, founded the Juneteenth Festival in West Akron in 1998 after learning about Juneteenth during a trip to Dallas in the mid-1990s. Initially, the festival was held at John Brown House, and later moved to Stoner/Hawkins Park. 

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the date on which Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas and announced that 250,000 enslaved people in Texas were free by executive decree. More than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, scores of enslaved people were finally freed when Confederate control of the state was dissolved. Newly freed people in Texas christened the day “Juneteenth” and the day has been celebrated for over 150 years. In 2021, Juneteenth became a federal holiday.

To honor Juneteenth, Downtown Akron Partnership will host a dinner for 150 people in Lock 3 on Saturday, June 18, featuring catering by Ernie’s, a signature drink by Perfect Pour (there will be a non-alcoholic option), and dessert from Sweet and Savvy Cake Shop. In an “On the Table”-style community conversation, facilitators around the table will start and moderate discussions on a variety of topics on ways to strengthen the community, achieve equity, and encourage shared experiences among people of all incomes and backgrounds. A number of tickets will be offered to families through outreach partners. Dinner guests will receive a commemorative tile featuring artwork by Diane Johnson.

After the dinner, DJ Forrest "Getemgump" Webb and the Unit Band will perform from 7 to 10 p.m., the concert is free and open to all.  

2022 Juneteenth celebrations in Akron have been enriched and enhanced by numerous partners, including the Akron Black Artist Guild, Akron Juneteenth Festival, the City of Akron, North Hill Community Development Corporation, Summit County Historical Society, Downtown Akron Partnership, and others.

Hand sanitizing products for the Lock 3 dinner are provided by GOJO. Support for the Juneteenth Celebration in Lock 3 is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight and Ohio Arts Council.

Akron METRO RTA provides free, fixed-route bus rides on Saturdays and Sundays, from June - September 2022.  Free rides apply on all METRO fixed-routes and ADA services.

For more information about routes and schedules, visit akronmetro.org or call 330-762-0341.


June 17 Events and activities include:

10:30 a.m. | African Migration / Juneteenth Farm Friday | Perkins Stone Mansion

This week will feature African American migration to Akron/Summit County and it will kick off our Juneteenth celebrations for the weekend. Students will be split into two groups: 1) preschool - first grade and 2) 2nd through 6th grade.

6 – 8 p.m. | Ward 5 Community Townhall Meeting, and dialogue: Submitting and assistance with ARPA Funding Applications | Joy Park Community Center

June 18 Events and activities include:

10:30 a.m. | Community Talk Back: Empowering a Community | Perkins Stone Mansion

Panelists include

  • Taba Aleem – Project Ujima
  • Bishop Samuel Hamption II, pastor of First Apostolic Faith Church
  • Carla Davis – member of Akron’s Racial Equity Task Force
  • Albert A. Bragg, Jr. – director of Alpha Phi Alpha Homes
  • Steve Arrington – executive director of the Bayard Rustin LGBTQ+ Resource Center

12:15 p.m. | Soul Food Cooking Demonstration by Chef Dannika Stevenson, Sip Savor Soul | Perkins Stone Mansion

Noon – 3 p.m. | John Brown Open House featuring “Conversations of Grace,” an exhibition curated by artist Dara Harper | John Brown House

Noon – 6 p.m. | Joy Park Juneteenth Festival | Joy Park

5 – 6:30 p.m. | Ticketed dinner with conversation | Lock 3

7 – 10 p.m. | Music from DJ Forest "Getemgump" Webb and The Unit Band | Lock 3

June 19 Events and activities include:

9 a.m. | Juneteenth Akron History Hike – John Brown Monument with Dave Lieberth | meets at Akron Zoo

Time TBA | West Akron Parade Celebrates Juneteenth | Buchtel High School

1 – 7 p.m. | 24th Annual Akron Juneteenth Festival | Stoner/Hawkins Park

               Featuring vendors, food, and the Gerald R. Carter Teen Talent Show

For more information about Juneteenth in Akron, visit https://www.downtownakron.com/explore/juneteenth