LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The 14th annual “Juneteenth in Da Rock” celebration hosted by the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center will kick off the weekend with a flag-raising ceremony on Thursday, June 15, at 10:30 a.m.
A color guard will raise the Juneteenth Flag with the accompaniment of the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center located at 501 W. Ninth St.
The flag-raising will be free and open to the public.
“Juneteenth is the most widely known celebration of emancipation in the United States and we are proud to be part of the Arkansas celebration,” said Mike Mills, Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism secretary. “Each year, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s ‘Juneteenth in Da Rock’ draws visitors from across the region, showing them the best our state has to offer.”
On Saturday, June 17, the Juneteenth 5K Run/Walk will begin at 7 a.m. The route will pass through some of Central Arkansas’s most notable historic African American communities and landmarks.
Registration is required and costs $55. Late registration is open through June 17.
“While the Juneteenth holiday is celebrated nationwide, at its core it is a local celebration -- each state, each community has its own traditions that complement the national celebration,” said Jimmy Bryant, director of Arkansas Heritage. “The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s Juneteenth festival incorporates the local and national traditions, creating a truly authentic Arkansas experience.”
Later that same day at noon, the Juneteenth in Da Rock Street Festival will kick off with live music, over 120 vendors, food trucks, a kids’ zone, a sensory-friendly quiet zone, and a health and wellness village with free health screenings.
Special guests this year will include two nationally recognized artists; Grammy award-winning R&B artist MÝA and critically acclaimed Gospel artist Nakitta Clegg-Foxx.
Locally-based brand Aretha’s Beverages has partnered with the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center to create an official drink for Juneteenth in Da Rock– Aretha’s Strawberry Lemonade with Basil!
The drink honors the Juneteenth tradition of red food and drinks as a symbol of resiliency and strength.
It will be available soon to purchase at Loblolly Creamery as part of a Juneteenth ice cream float, at The Capitol Hotel’s bar and restaurant as part of a signature cocktail, at select Edward’s Food Giant stores, Community Bakery, 42 Bar and Table, Sims Bar-B-Que on Barrow Road, and Copper Grill.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be able to build this festival right here on historic West Ninth Street because that is what ‘Juneteenth in Da Rock’ is all about; our history, our freedom, and our culture,” said Quantia “Key” Fletcher, director of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. “We want everyone to join us in celebration and share that sense of community.”
In addition to Juneteenth in Da Rock, there are eight events across the state that are celebrating the occasion.
For a full list of affiliate events or more details, please visit JuneteenthLittleRock.com.