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‘Reflect, honor and memorialize’: A guide to Las Vegas Valley’s Juneteenth festivities

Updated June 3, 2024 - 2:40 pm

The red, white and blue Juneteenth flag marked with a single bursting star signifies the end of a dark chapter in American history when the last slaves were freed more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect in 1863.

While federal and Nevada lawmakers only recognized June 19 as an official federal and state holiday in recent years, Las Vegas Valley residents have honored the historic occasion, also known as “Jubilee Day” and “Black Independence Day,” for much longer.

And it won’t be any different this month.

“Las Vegas has long been an instrumental ally of Juneteenth, which is for all Americans to participate, reflect, honor and memorialize,” the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority noted. “The destination is committed to honoring true freedom and uniting people — because Juneteenth is something to commemorate together.”

Local festivities launched Saturday with the raising of the Juneteenth flag at the Historic Westside’s Legacy Park. Officials at Las Vegas City Hall and Henderson City Hall did the same on Monday.

The four-day Las Vegas Juneteenth Festival at the World Market Center starts June 12.

“The festival promises multiple days filled with spectacular performances and delicious food,” said the LVCVA, adding that June 15 will include a performance from recording R&B artist J. Brown.

A “Splash n’ Dash Family Pool Day” commemorating Juneteenth will take place at Doolittle Community Pool from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 12. Families can register here.

“This event is not just about splashing in the water; it’s about coming together as a community to honor the resilience and achievements of Black Americans throughout history,” organizers wrote. “Dive into the fun with expert-led swim lessons for our young ones!”

The two-hour Westside Poetry in the Park event will start at 6 p.m. June 12 at Kianga Isoke Palacio Park.

Afterward, on the same night at the same location, there will be a family-oriented “Movie Under the Stars” event.

“Our handpicked lineup of titles includes both fiction and non-fiction films that are family-friendly and illuminate the richness of African American culture,” organizers wrote. “Attendees are encouraged to bring low back beach chairs, towels, or blankets for comfortable seating in the grass.”

The E.L.E.V.A.T.E summit was slated from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 13 at Nevada Partners, 690 W. Lake Mead Blvd.

The event “will bring together esteemed professionals, keynote speakers, and community leaders for a transformative one-day resource summit,” organizers wrote.

Interested participants can register here.

A three-on-three basketball tournament, the “Jubilee N’ Slam,” is happening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 14 at Lorenzi Park.

“This event honoring the athletic achievement of African Americans features 24 teams battling it out on the court at the beloved local park,” organizers wrote.

Teams can register here.

Las Vegas City Hall will display a virtual representation of the Juneteenth flag nightly from June 15 to June 19.

On June 19, the city of Henderson will host its own festival at Water Street Plaza, which will include performances and community vendors.

“Las Vegas offers several ways to honor this significant happening,” the LVCVA said. “In between attending the special events, be sure to stop by some of the black-owned businesses in the destination.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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