Juneteenth Family Festival Enters 5th Year in Beverly/Morgan Park  

Submitted by Juneteenth Family Festival  

A free, family-friendly event to celebrate Juneteenth is being held in Chicago’s historic Beverly/Morgan Park community in Chicago, on Saturday, June 15, from noon to 7 p.m. The Juneteenth Family Festival of Beverly and Morgan Park offers attendees an opportunity to reflect on history, celebrate this momentous occasion as a community and a city, support Black owned and local entrepreneurs, learn more about health and wellness, and have fun. 

Hosted by Juneteenth Family Festival in collaboration with Burst into Books, the 2024 festival will be held at the intersections between 110th and 111th and Longwood, in Bohn Park, as well, as in the parking lots of Morgan Park Presbyterian Church and Morgan Park United Methodist Church at 110th Place and Longwood Drive. 

Festival activities are designed to acknowledge and celebrate this momentous occasion in African American history while also educating the community at large. Among the offerings of the festival will be, featured entertainment, drumming circles where kids and adults can learn to play djembe dance lessons, children’s activities including STEM, facepainting, sports activities including a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, a mini-college fair, educational workshops, vendors and much more.  

The festival this year will continue to have CBS Chicago as a media sponsor, along with Power 92 and 106.3 who are new this year and will be broadcasting live from the festival. 

Additionally, the festival would not be possible without our community based, lifetime sponsors, most of whom are small businesses, who have given sacrificially from the inception, to make the festival possible. These lifetime sponsors include: All Day Montessori, Bookies New and Used Books, Mirjam Quinn and Associates, Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, Morgan Park United Methodist Church, Irsenia Norfleet DDS PC and Cake Walk. 

New to the festival this year will be a partnership with My Block My Hood My City, an organization founded and directed by Jahmal Cole. With this new partnership, we seek to prioritize and enhance youth belonging and empowerment. My Block My Hood My City will be sponsoring the youth and family area and will bring their vast expertise working with youth to the forefront. Included in this endeavor will be a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, as we collaborate, to draw attention to #savestreetball, a campaign by My Block My Hood My City to ensure that communities throughout Chicagoland have updated, outdoor basketball courts for our youth and families to utilize. 

In continuing to prioritize the health and wellness of the African American community, we will be emphasizing a theme of Fit and Fun, in collaboration with some of our sponsors including Blue Door Neighborhood Center, Astrazeneca, Aetna and Advocate Children’s Hospital, we will be offering Alzheimer’s workshop and narcan workshops, yoga and much more. New this year, we will also be offering a series of health and wellness and educational workshops leading up the festival at neighborhood libraries. Visit our website for more information. 

The festival will have dozens of vendors who will feature various merchandise for sale. For food this year, we are excited to have Jus Sandwiches, JJ Fish, Chicken and Ribs, Rojo Verde Tacos, Whadda Jerk, FS Food Group specializing in Bbq, and our very own neighborhood’s Ohana’s Ice and Treats. 

Entertainment at this year’s festival will be something you don’t want to miss. The festival will be featuring Windy Irie, a classically trained violinist from the West Side of Chicago who will bring to the festival a fusion of hip hop, soul and classical music. With sounds reminiscent of jazz musicians and Chicago’s Artistic flavor, Windy aspires to bridge the gap between music and education as a tool to empower all demographics into believing in themselves. 

In addition to Windy, Hi Love, a veteran soul piercing songstress who has worked with Grammy Award Winning producers and even Kanye West will grace us with her presence. Also, MOYA who performed at the festival in 2023 will return by popular demand with Afri-tainment, bringing Africa to the festival through creative songs, dance, storytelling and stilt walking. 

The festival will also feature the Chicago Bulls Bucket Boys, Jesse White Tumblers, Chicago State Band and young Chase Griggs, a student of Sutherland Elementary School who will render Lift Every Voice, a song that’s considered the Black national anthem. 

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, celebrates the emancipation of those who were enslaved in the United States. Considered the longest-running African American holiday, it is celebrated annually on June 19, the date in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to ensure that all people who were continuing to be enslaved were freed—2½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months following Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. 

Shanya Gray, who founded the festival along with Jurema Gorham of Burst into Books in 2019, says: “I am excited for our 5th annual festival. I never thought we would be where we are today. This festival was birthed from a hope and a dream with a $0 budget, just the help of some amazing people including members of the Southwest Diversity Collaborative, local businesses and organizations including Mirjam Quinn and Associates, Bookies, BAPA, the 19th Ward Foundation. Followed by subsequent partnerships with the Beverly Arts Center, Beverly and Morgan Park Business Association. Today we are 5 years in, have grown in size every year and are becoming a pillar in our community and the greater Chicago area.” 

To learn more about the festival, be sure to visit our website at www.juneteethfamilyfestival.com. 

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