DES MOINES, Iowa — Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. June 19th became of official federal holiday in 2021 but has been recognized in Iowa since 2002 and celebrations this year begin June 9th with the Iowa Juneteenth Kickoff at Mainframe Studios in Des Moines from 5pm-8pm.

Living History Farms will host a celebration in Urbandale at 9am on June 10th. The following day on June 11th Hoyt Sherman will be taken over by a Gospel Celebration at 6pm.

An informative and educational panel on Iowa Juneteenth titled “Free to Be,” will begin at 5:30pm inside the State Historical Building in Des Moines. Doors open at 5:00pm.

All Juneteenth events are free with the exception of the following two events. On June 15th there will be a Community Builders Appreciation Banquet on the campus of Drake University inside the Olmsted Center with a 5pm social hour followed by the banquet at 6pm. Also requiring payment is the Juneteenth Golf Event at A.H. Blank Golf Course in Des Moines at 8am.

The free events pick back up on June 17th with the main attraction of Neighbors Day. The outdoor event will close roads off along the Western Gateway Park with food, live music, performers and local businesses with booths lining the area. Neighbors Day is scheduled from 12pm-8pm.

Father’s Day will receive extra love from the Iowa Juneteenth organization with a special Father’s Day and Men’s Mental Health Awareness day.

Iowans can take part in several events on the day of observance of June 19th. The Black Women for Healthy Living (BW4L) will host a Juneteenth Tea at Grandview University at Noon on June 19th. Ottumwa will make sure residents in their area will be able to take part with an event outside at the Ottumwa Central Park from Noon-7pm. Later that evening in West Des Moines there will be a Drive-In Movie inside the Valley West Mall Parking lot at 8pm with entry allowed beginning at 6pm.

Closing out the month’s activities is the Culture of Color Event at the Bella Love Events Space in Clive at 6pm. This is also a paid event.

The organization is also raising money to support those in Davenport who have been impacted by the building collapse. They are dedicating 19 days of fundraising to this cause. 50% of the funds will be presented to the Quad Cities Community Foundation Recovery Fund at the end of the month. 

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For more information on the events or to register for any of the paid celebrations just visit