Historic Germantown marks Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S., during its Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival this Saturday, June 16.
Now in its 12th year, this annual, free festival in Northwest Philly features a day of entertainment and educational activities on Germantown Avenue, including a children’s village, a cultural marketplace, historic reenactments, guided historic tours and much more.
- The Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival takes place Saturday, June 16, noon-8 p.m.
- The fest takes over the 6300 block of Germantown Avenue in Germantown.
- Attendees can expect historical reenactments, theatrical performances, a food-and-drink marketplace and more.
- The fest is free, with pay-as-you-go food, drink, shopping and more.
Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day,” is an annual celebration of the 1865 passage of the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery in the United States.
It’s apt that the fest takes over the 6300 block of Germantown Avenue, site of the Johnson House Historic Site that served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
On the avenue from noon to 8 p.m. this Saturday, vendors abound at an African marketplace, where shoppers can peruse and purchase crafts from the African diaspora, African and African-inspired clothing and jewelry and natural skin and haircare products, among other goodies.
Global food vendors offer up African, Caribbean and soul food cuisine, while a beer garden pours out locally brewed hard cider.
While the entire festival is a family affair, a special village just for kids features face painting, a moon bounce and a chance to pet baby goats.
A historical presentation of “Germantown Mennonites and the Anti-Slavery Movement” takes place at the Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust, 6133 Germantown Avenue.
Another presentation, a play about Cliveden, a historic Germantown site, and its relation to slavery, is the only event with a cost. Festival goers can see the drama for $15. Two more plays, one about Sojourner Truth and another telling the story of Bilali Muhammad-Almamy, take place in the afternoon.
The celebration also ties the discussion about slavery to modern-day human rights issues. This year features a panel discussion about Philadelphia’s human trafficking crisis.
Getting There & Staying Over
Germantown is in Northwest Philadelphia, one of the city’s historical gems.
Those traveling from Center City can catch the SEPTA 23 bus at 11th and Market streets to be dropped off at Germantown Avenue and Washington Lane.
SEPTA Regional Rail riders can head to Jefferson Station at 12th and Market streets for the Chestnut Hill East Line toward Chestnut Hill East. Get off at the Germantown stop and walk a few blocks to Johnson House.
Visitors can spend days in artsy and historic Northwest Philadelphia, or use the Juneteenth celebration as a springboard for a full Philadelphia getaway (or a staycation!). Try booking the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package which features free hotel parking and hundreds of dollars of free perks.
Don’t miss this annual fest celebrating African-American freedom!