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Juneteenth celebrations will take place across Fairfax County this weekend

Attendees of the 2022 Gum Springs Juneteenth celebration travel the grounds and interact with one another beneath multicolored tents (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Fairfax County will alight with joy and celebration with a variety of opportunities to celebrate Juneteenth this coming weekend (June 17-19).

Just last week on June 6, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors officially recognized Monday, June 19 of this year as Juneteenth. Only recently anointed a state and federal holiday, the occasion commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved men and women in Galveston, Texas finally heard the news that they had been freed two years prior under the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

Below is a sampling of Juneteenth celebrations taking place across the county this weekend.

Fairfax Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday, June 17
Begins at 10 a.m.
Opening ceremony at Veteran Amphitheatre, then parade to Mount Calvary Baptist Church

Co-hosted by the City of Fairfax and Mount Calvary Baptist Church, the Fairfax Juneteenth Celebration will begin with a formal ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Veteran Amphitheatre at City Hall (10455 Armstrong Street), featuring anthem performances and guest speakers.

Following the ceremony, guests are invited to participate in a parade from the amphitheatre to the Mount Calvary Baptist Church entrance on School Street (4325 Chain Bridge Road). From there, festivities will commence, including food trucks, craft and informational vendors, live music and dance, a car show, family activities and sharing of African American history and genealogical resources.

Bull Run Church and Harris Cemetery Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday, June 17
10:30 a.m.-noon
Bull Run Regional Park, behind the Atlantis Waterpark

Returning for a second year in a row, the Juneteenth Celebration at Bull Run (7700 Bull Run Drive) seeks to “recognize the largest private emancipation of the enslaved” as a joint initiative between Virginia NAACP and NOVA Parks, per its website.

Attendees will hear from a guest speaker and participate in a Black Expo and a children’s activity. They are strongly encouraged to bring toddler and children’s books as donations to Centreville United Methodist Church’s local literacy ministry.

Gum Springs Community Day/Juneteenth
Saturday, June 17
10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Martin Luther King Jr. Park Reservable Picnic Area

This Community Day/Juneteenth celebration commemorates the 190th anniversary of the founding of Gum Springs, the oldest African American community in Fairfax County, by West Ford. The day will begin at the park (8115 Fordson Road) at 10:30 a.m. with a historic marker dedication and unveiling of a new sign with Ford’s story. A parade will kickoff at 11 a.m., and guests can also enjoy an auction, health fair, carnival rides, food and music.

Juneteenth Fairfax County Celebration at Frying Pan Farm Park
Saturday, June 17
11:00 a.m.-2 p.m. (divided into three one-hour-long sessions that you can sign up for here)
Frying Pan Farm Park

In addition to the chance to see adorable farm animals, Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 West Ox Road) is offering families a venue for celebrating Juneteenth. Guests will be able to engage in African American culture and history through “a special guest storyteller, live music, crafts, history, and food trucks offering African American cuisine,” per the county website.

Vienna Juneteenth Celebration 
Saturday, June 17
11 a.m.-3 p.m.
First Baptist Church

As the kickoff event to Liberty Amendments Month, which honors the passage of the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments, the Town of Vienna is hosting a Juneteenth Celebration at the First Baptist Church (450 Orchard Street NW). Food trucks, moon bounces, a photobooth, live performances on an outdoor stage, and children’s activities begin at 11 a.m. George Mason University President Gregory Washington will present the opening ceremony at noon.

Vienna Juneteenth Classic Car Show
Saturday, June 17
Begins at 11 a.m.
James H. Hayes/Bull Run #529 Elks Lodge

Just up the road from the Juneteenth Celebration at First Baptist Church will be an impressive array of vintage cars and trucks with makes and models from 1990 and older. On-site registration opens at 10:30 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m. Shuttles are available from the First Baptist Church.

Herndon Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday, June 17
12-8 p.m.
Arts Herndon

Nonprofit Arts Herndon (750 Center Street) is offering no shortage of ways to celebrate Juneteenth with its eight-hour lineup of events. The day will consist of a reading of Herndon’s Juneteenth proclamation, a performance of the anthem, children’s activities including story time and crafts, a historical presentation and live blues music from a band from D.C.

Annual Juneteenth Lunch and Learn Experience
Monday, June 19
12-4 p.m.
Sully Historic Site

At Sully’s Lunch and Learn Experience, attendees can immerse themselves in Sully’s rich history through interactive exhibits, presentations and traditional soul food freshly made on site. The historic site will be fully open for exploration.

For those who want a more in-depth tour, the City of Fairfax is offering free Forgotten Road Tours of Sully’s outbuildings and slave quarters on Juneteenth Weekend from Thursday, June 15 through Saturday, June 17 from 2-2:45 p.m. each day. Tickets must be reserved in advance online.

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