Oakland and Berkeley Juneteenth celebrations for 2022

Berkeley Juneteenth Festival in 2016 Credit: Nancy Rubin

Juneteenth, the June 19 holiday honoring the emancipation of slaves in the United States, has a rich history in the East Bay. Even though it wasn’t considered a federal holiday until 2021and California did not formalize the day until 2003the city of Berkeley’s celebration has been going on since 1986, making it the longest running Juneteenth event in Northern California.

In the years that followed, these festivals grew and grew, with food vendors, entertainment and activities for children. Additionally, many restaurants offer special menus and events, as meals and potlucks have long been a central part of the celebration. Below is a selection of ways to celebrate June 19 in the East Bay. If you know of others, write to us and we will add them.

Berkeley Juneteenth Festival in 2016 Credit: Nancy Rubin

Berkeley

35th Annual Berkeley June 19 Festival
June 19 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Adeline Street and Alcatraz Avenue
Free

Even if it’s taken some breaks up over the years, Berkeley’s celebration remains the oldest in the region. This year the theme is “Belonging” and the food lineup specializes in vendors “representative of our diverse community”. There’s also live music on multiple stages and activities for kids, including skating and a rock wall.

Oakland

Related
East Bay restaurateurs strive to spread the Juneteenth message

Freedomful Fest: June 16 Weekend Celebration
June 17 at 9 p.m.
Crybaby (1928 Telegraph Avenue)
Tickets $15-30

This new oakland bar in the former Uptown space celebrates the holidays Friday night with live DJ sets from Nana Kwabena, Lady Ryan, Kenzo and Slowlikewhoa.

Gastronomic and musical festival on June 19
June 17 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Liberation Park (7101 Foothill Boulevard)
Free tickets – $45

Expect “seafood, soulfood, retail and cannabis” at this Friday event, which also includes an all-day skate party. More than 60 local food and gift vendors are promised.

Juneteenth In The Town Jubilee Third Anniversary
June 18 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Tickets: $125-25,000

Event organizers haven’t named names yet, but said attendees will enjoy food from “elite culinary chefs, your favorite local chefs and more.” Live music, art and culture are also on the agenda on Saturday evenings.

Afrocentric Oakland June 19 Weekend
June 18-19 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Lake Merritt Amphitheater
Tickets $5-850

The festival myp shows a dedicated area for food vendors and an expansive dining room, there is also a focus on wellness with meditation, yoga and mental health offerings available. A full bar is on site, but outside food, coolers, and drinks are permitted, provided that only one bottle of outside alcohol per person is permitted.

Inauguration of the Red Bay cafe
June 19 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
3206 Grand Ave.
Free

Local Red Bay coffee roasters serve free drip coffee out front its new lakeside location; its full menu is also available inside.

Beyond

Yes to June 19
June 19 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Abrams Claghorn Gallery (1251 Solano Ave, Albany)
Free

An array of food trucks are expected at this Albany event, which also features live music programming and a craft fair featuring 20 local artists.

City of Richmond June 19 Parade and Festival
June 18 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Nichol Park (3230 Macdonald Ave, Richmond)

This is Richmond’s first in-person Juneteenth festival since 2019, so expect big things. The parade begins at 10 a.m. at the Booker T. Anderson Center and ends in Nichol Park, where you can enjoy a variety of food vendors, live music, and local artists and artisans.

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