Juneteenth in Maine

Juneteenth Events in Maine 2024

Join us in celebrating Juneteenth, a day that honors the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and acknowledges the enduring struggle for freedom and justice. This year, the Permanent Commission created a mini-grant program to support the celebration of Juneteenth in Maine. The seven successful applicants featured below planned events that capture the importance of reckoning with hard history, celebrate the joy of liberation, and build cross-cultural solidarity. They also center the African American community whose ancestors endured and overcame slavery, racism, and injustice –making a way out of no way to build vibrant communities and culture.  You can learn more about the history and importance of Juneteenth at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Explore the map and list below to find events near you. While not all events listed are sponsored by the Permanent Commission, each one contributes to the growing number of Juneteenth celebrations across the state since its establishment as a state and national holiday in 2021 - 2022. From educational programs and historical explorations to music, food, art, and parades, there’s something for everyone. Let’s come together to honor the past, celebrate the present, and work towards a just and equitable future.

We extend our great thanks to Athena Lynch for starting the Juneteenth event mapping project and creating these maps over the course of several years.

Please Note: Most of Maine is expecting a heat wave starting Tuesday June 18 through the rest of the week. Make sure you stay hydrated if you plan to attend events outside or without air conditioning. You can find more ways to stay safe in the heat from the Maine CDC website.

Click on a marker to explore events.


Juneteenth Grant Awards

We are excited to announce the recipients of our Juneteenth Mini Award. Out of 18 applications, we selected seven to support events and activities in Portland, Westbrook, Lewiston, Bangor, and Ellsworth. Congratulations to the successful applicants and thanks to everyone who applied! Event descriptions have been provided by the hosts --more event details can be found in the map and event list.

Juneteenth Downeast 

The Juneteenth Downeast Commemoration, now in its fourth year, brings together people from across our communities to connect us to our past, build shared space and community, and orient us to our future. 

Our 2024 Commemoration theme is “Shoulder to Shoulder.” We will be highlighting and honoring the common struggles among Black and Indigenous People in Maine.

The admission-free Juneteenth Commemoration event is open to all and features an exciting lineup of Black and Indigenous musicians, poets, speakers, restaurants, artisans, and museums, to offer an engaging, educational, inspirational, and fun experience for all ages.

The Third Place 

Fortland Juneteenth Celebration: Land, Health and Economic Opportunity - 

Get ready for the 5th Annual Juneteenth Celebration, happening again at the stunning Fortland on House Island in Portland's Casco Bay! This year, we're turning up the excitement as we honor Juneteenth by stepping back from our daily grind to focus on creating #BlackJoy and building stronger community connections.

Our theme this year is Nature, Health, and Economic Opportunity. Whether you join us for one day or two, prepare for an unforgettable experience filled with camping, hiking, fishing, birdwatching, yoga, and more—all led by talented BIPOC health and outdoor entrepreneurs from The Third Place ECO-BIPOC network and community at-large. You will become an active participant in demonstrating the possibility of a BIPOC Outdoor Ecosystem.

One Westbrook 

Westbrook Juneteenth Freedom Celebration - Join us for an afternoon of music, speakers, poetry, art, and community, commemorating Juneteenth. 

  • Guest Speakers & Poets include Shay Stewart-Bouley, Genius Black, Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, Portland Poet Laureate Maya Williams, & Westbrook Students

  • Musical Guests Jennifer Rachele & the VIVA Sensation will sing the Black National Anthem and other songs, and 107.9 WJZP, Portland’s only minority-owned radio station, will be playing music throughout the event

  • An authentic Juneteenth BBQ Picnic will be served up by Chef Pickens and Black Betty's Bistro, the picnic is FREE to everyone, and blankets are encouraged

  • Activities include a Westbrook Student Fashion Show, a Community Weaving Project lead by Westbrook Artist Veronica Perez, Hair Braiding with Hair By Dior, Onsite Voter Registrations, Pick-up Soccer with Westbrook Soccer Club, and more

Everyone is welcome to dance, listen and learn at this Juneteenth event. We look forward to seeing you there!

Portland Public Library, The Portland Yoga Project and Athena Lynch

Juneteenth Series: Honoring Freedom and Empowerment through Dialogue, Preparedness and Wellness: 

Reclaiming the Tides: A Liberation of Water - Panel discussion exploring the African-American relationship with water, delving into its cultural significance and historical contexts. 

Empowerment in Safety: Juneteenth- CPR & First Aid Demo Workshop CPR demo led by an American Red Cross-certified trainer, offering valuable insights into CPR techniques. We'll address misconceptions about drowning and its portrayal in media.  

Liberated Breath: A Juneteenth Yoga Experience - In collaboration with Victoria Rutledge of The Portland Yoga Project, a Juneteenth-themed yoga class will be offered free to all Black and POC community members. Join us for an enriching experience celebrating Juneteenth and promoting health and empowerment in our community.

NAACP Bangor

Celebrating Juneteenth at Bangor Pride - Pride and Juneteenth celebrate, uplift, honor, and empower two distinct marginalized communities. Celebrating Juneteenth With Pride presents a unique opportunity for reflection on intersecting identities and community-building. The NAACP’s Juneteenth Celebration Table @ Bangor’s Pride Festival project as an event is designed to celebrate and build community among Black  LGBTQ+ Mainers. The NAACP’s Juneteenth Celebration Table @ Bangor’s Pride Festival project will incorporate a photo booth allowing people to capture their Juneteenth pride and have samples of food that embody the celebration of Juneteenth. 

Maine Inside Out 

Lewiston Juneteenth Parade, Block Party, and Performances - The festival will be an expression of the joys, struggles, and strength of Lewiston and celebrate the power of art and community to bring us together in joy and in pain.

Bright Stars USA

This event brings Black youth from different communities together for a full day of activities, discussions and good food. This will be a learning day for the youth--they will learn about Black culture and Black history from two perspectives--the African American experience and the immigrant experience. Attendees representing a cross section of Black and bi-racial young men and women, will discuss and learn through education and cultural activities to gain knowledge about Black history/ African American heritage, and cultural contributions, economic contributions to the economy of Maine. We hope to serve as powerful catalysts, inspiring perseverance in the fight for freedom, solidarity, and racial justice by our young people. Activities will include participating in cultural dances, talents, arts, traditional foods, learning about Black culture and Black presence in Maine, highlighting Black achievements.