Music, creative performances, kids’ play and a Miss Juneteenth pageant highlight the day

TACOMA, WA: South Sounders will celebrate Juneteenth through a dynamic community-led festival at Stewart Heights Park offering live music, dance, connection with others in the community, and support to improve financial stability.

Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021. It marks June 19, 1865, the date on which the last enslaved people in the United States were officially freed, a full two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

“It’s a day for us to come together, celebrate and move forward,” said Jerome “JD” Davis, event organizer and CEO of WayOut Kids. “Our goal this year is to create an opportunity for economic growth within the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) community. When we look at freedom, we know finances play a role. If you’re looking to move your life forward by connecting with the trades, finding a job or buying a house, we want to help.”

The event will honor, celebrate, and show respect for Black history, tradition, and culture.

“Juneteenth: A Road to Economic Freedom” will feature two headliners – R&B star J. Holiday and gospel singer Crystal Aikins – as well as eight local creative artists. There will be speakers reflecting on the day, face painting, an interactive kids’ zone and more than 50 vendors from trade associations, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and finance.

The city’s first Miss Juneteenth pageant will also take place during the festival for girls in grades 9-12. The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

The festival is hosted by Metro Parks Tacoma and produced by partner WayOut Kids, with support from Tacoma Creates, Tacoma Urban League, Amazon, Washington Federation of State Employees, MultiCare and others.

This celebration is one of four community festivals voted on by more than 5,100 community members as part of a participatory budgeting process funded by Tacoma Creates and facilitated by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Celebrations coming later this year are the South Tacoma Heritage Festival in August, produced by Asia Pacific Cultural Center, and Día de los Muertos at the Eastside Community Center in October, produced by Calavera Collective.

“Metro Parks Tacoma is excited for an opportunity to reflect on this historic turning point in our nation and help chart a new course toward inclusion and freedom for all people,” said Park Board Commissioner Aaron Pointer. “We are grateful to WayOut Kids, Tacoma Creates, and our other partners for making this possible.”

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 19, 2023

WHERE: Stewart Heights Park, 5715 Reginald Gutierrez Ln., Tacoma, WA

COST: Free

LEARN MORE: JuneteethWA (

Another Juneteenth event is happening from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 17 at Wright Park. Produced by Tacoma Cease Fire, “Juneteenth253” will have food, live music, a parade, dog show, car meet-up and various vendors.

Find more information about the June 17 event: Home | Juneteenth253.