Manchester will celebrate two of its newest summer traditions — the third annual Queen City Pride and the second annual Juneteenth block party — on Saturday afternoon.
The celebrations will focus on the contributions and cultures of Black and LGBT people, but all are welcome at both events.
Juneteenth has long been celebrated in Black communities, particularly in the South. The date, June 19, marks the day in 1865 when news of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation reached enslaved people in Texas.
In New Hampshire, the date has been celebrated for several years on Portsmouth’s Black Heritage Trail, and Nashua’s first Juneteenth was held in 2019. New Hampshire made Juneteenth a state holiday in 2019, and Juneteenth became a federal holiday this week.
In 2020, the surge of racial justice protests brought new attention to Juneteenth — and prompted a group of Manchester residents and business owners to start a Juneteenth celebration.
Saturday will be Manchester’s second annual Juneteenth block party. Festivities will be held outside the Hop Knot on Elm Street, beginning at 2 p.m. and ending at 4 p.m.
A few blocks away in Arms Park, Manchester will also celebrate Queen City Pride. Now in its third year — after a COVID-delayed and scaled-down festival last September — the Pride festival celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people will feature performers, activities, craft vendors and plenty of food.
Queen City Pride begins at noon Saturday, and runs until 5:30 p.m.
The city of Manchester also marked Pride by raising a rainbow-striped pride flag outside City Hall on Friday.
“Juneteenth and Pride are times to recognize and celebrate the contributions these underserved populations have contributed to society and our daily life,” read a statement from the organizers of Queen City Pride. “While also acknowledging that there is much more work required to achieve equity for black and queer people, today, we celebrate with each other.”
Other New Hampshire cities are also celebrating Juneteenth on Saturday.
Nashua’s Juneteenth will be held at the city’s public library, with performers, art activities, food and craft vendors from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Juneteenth events in Portsmouth include a 10 a.m. lecture on the role of DNA testing in Black history and genealogy, and a ceremonial dance at 3 p.m. at the Portsmouth African Burying Ground. Links to stream both events can be found at blackheritagetrailnh.org/2021-juneteenth-celebration.