Juneteenth has come a long way as a holiday. It began as a celebration among freed slaves in Texas commemorating the day when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued an order informing Texans that “all slaves are free” on June 19, 1865. Juneteenth spread into neighboring states and then California, and its meaning changed over time and as white supremacists clawed back the gains Black Americans made during Reconstruction.
In 2020, in response to the Black Lives Matter protests and the killing of George Floyd, many businesses began commemorating Juneteenth as part of a broader interest in anti-racism. The following year, President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday, and today its common for companies to give workers the day off.
There are many events around the Seattle area that commemorate Juneteenth by celebrating Black culture and history. Below are a few that are either food-centric or include a strong food element:
Saturday: Meet the Brewer at Steelheads Alley
The brewery at the Mariners’ sprawling SoDo event space is hosting a combo Father’s Day/Juneteenth event this Saturday, June 19, where guests can learn about brewing techniques and beer tasting notes from Métier founder Rodney Hines and head brewer Michael Daly. The event runs from 2 to 3 p.m. and is free to attend, though to take full advantage you’ll want to buy a curated flight of Métier beers for $13. For more information and to reserve a spot, go here.
Saturday: The Black Liberation Cookout
The very cool Black Farmers Collective is putting on its annual Black Liberation Cookout at 727 Yesler Way on Saturday, June 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring food from Stephanie Simmons supported by Tina Fahnbulleh of Gold Coast Ghal Kitchen. Note that this is for Black-identified people only; non-Black people are welcome to support by donating. More info here.
Sunday: Capitol Hill’s REVIVAL Juneteenth Market
On June 18 from noon to 5 p.m., the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict is putting on a market at Midtown Square Plaza on 23rd and Union. This will include a bevy of retail and food vendors, including Ms. Helen’s Soul Bistro, Ma & Pops Caribbean ice pops, Federal Way’s Let’s Just Smoke BBQ, Queen Sugar Baking Company, Tasha’s Puddinn’ Palace, and Gold Coast Ghal Kitchen. For more info go here.
Monday: Communion’s Market and Mixer
On Monday, June 19, celebrated Black-owned restaurant Communion and Made Space Seattle are taking over the corner of 24th Avenue and Union to put on a market featuring DJs, artists, makers, and chefs. Food that will appear at the event, which runs from 1 to 7 p.m. Some of the food vendors here are community-focused chef Tarik Abdullah of Feed the People, Kahelia Spencer of Key’s Catering, and Hot Jawn Chili Sauce. Admission is free. For more info go here.
Monday: The Northwest African American Museum’s Skate Party
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, NAAM (at 2300 South Massachusetts Street) is hosting its annual skate party. This will feature interactive story time, film screenings, yoga at neighboring Jimi Hendrix Park, vendors, and food trucks. You’ll be able to eat at Po’ Boys & Tings, Soul Fusion, Seattle Sorbets, Ma & Pops, Crumbiest Life Bakehouse, and South 2 West Boiled Peanuts. For more info go here.
Monday: Shoreline’s first-ever Juneteenth Celebration
At Shoreline City Hall from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, the city is holding its inaugural Juneteenth celebration in partnership with community hub Black Coffee Northwest. There will be spoken word, stomp, and double Dutch performances along with food vendors. More information can be found here.