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NWA & River Valley Juneteenth celebrations begin

With Juneteenth approaching, Northwest Arkansas and River Valley celebrations are kicking off.

ARKANSAS, USA — June 19, otherwise known as Juneteenth, is the United States day that honors the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Take a look at the Northwest Arkansas and River Valley Juneteenth celebrations that are beginning to kick off!

Northwest Arkansas Juneteenth Events

On Thursday, June 16, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is honoring black filmmakers at the Second Annual Black Film Showcase which will begin at 6:00 p.m. Marissa Culbreath host the event beginning with an introduction to the evening’s works, including short film screenings and a feature-length film in the Great Hall, followed by filmmaker discussions moderated by Ify Egbosimba.

Afterward, guests will be invited to a post-film mix and mingle with filmmakers, the DAYVISION team members, the University of Arkansas’s Juneteenth Committee, and the Community Cohesion Project. A cash bar will be available with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and complimentary cheese, crackers, and popcorn will be provided throughout the evening’s program.

Guests will also be offered free admission to the temporary exhibition The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse for all Film Showcase attendees. Click here to reserve your free tickets online here or call (479) 657-2335.

On Saturday, June 18, the Black Action Collective will be hosting its Crown of Hope Luncheon at Mermaid’s Seafood restaurant to raise awareness about cancer while celebrating those battling the disease. Candice Graham, breast cancer survivor and Owner of Hair Couture Beauty Boutique will be the keynote speaker and share a meaningful message of HOPE. The afternoon will feature survivor stories, there will be an opportunity to remember those who lost their battle with cancer. 

The money raised by the luncheon will provide vital funds to support the purchase of 200 real wigs, free of charge, for children and women who have lost their hair through cancer treatment and other conditions. For questions, contact Lance Reed at breed@bacnwa.org or 479-799-4569. 

On Sunday, June 19, The Freedom Festival celebrating Juneteenth will be at Shiloh Square in Springdale from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will feature live performances, food and a wellness fair. This event is free to the public. Attractions include:

  • Live Entertainment featuring Montell “This Is How We Do It” Jordan; Morris Day and The Time; Lamar Campbell; “The Mississippi Blues Child” Mr. Sipp; Jukeboxx Party Band and more
  • Free Food
  • Food Trucks
  • Education & Awareness
  • Health Screenings
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Black Owned Business Fair
  • Games & Family Activities
  • Drum-making workshop
  • CB to You Art Lab

Also on Sunday, June 19, Let’s Talk NWA will present its 3rd Annual Juneteenth Concert Celebration beginning at 5:30 p.m. and will feature food, music and a resource fair. The event will be located at 704 S Washington in Fayetteville and be free to the public.

River Valley Juneteenth Events:

On June 17 and 18, the City of Fort Smith, Walmart, University of Arkansas – Fort Smith and Punkin Pictures will host a weekend of Juneteenth events. 

Events begin on June 17 with the Making History Gala at Freedom Farms at 6:00 p.m. and will include a cocktail hour, dinner prepared by Chef James Thomas (AKA JT) of The Rialto Restaurant and live entertainment by local and regional artists as well as celebrity appearances. Click here for tickets.

On June 18, a modern version of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” will be performed at 7:00 p.m. at the ArcBest Performing Arts Center.

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