Juneteenth in Des Moines, Iowa
As parents, we have the great privilege of providing experiences for our children that help them grow, learn, and develop into kind and contributing members of society. It’s a big task but one that Des Moines Parent is here to help you with. This time we’re here to tell you more about Iowa Juneteenth and what your family is invited to be a part of.
First, a quick, but by no means complete, history lesson. Juneteenth is a federal holiday celebrating freedom, more specifically the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. While many of us were taught that slavery ended right after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, there were enslaved people who were kept from realizing they were free. On June 19, 1865, the news of freedom reached enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, and the Juneteenth celebration was born.
The Iowa Juneteenth events, happening in Des Moines, give us an opportunity to join in this celebration.
“We live in a rich community full of culture and it’s our culture that shapes who we are,” says Dwana Bradley, General Chairperson of Iowa Juneteenth. “We need to value, respect, and show love towards each other no matter who we are, and it starts with parents immersing their children in cultural events.”
Dwana encourages parents to attend events like these that can show them and their children who people really are outside of the often-inaccurate information they get from the media and politicians. “I believe it’s parents’ responsibility to raise their kids up having an appreciation for the various cultures around them no matter what race they identify with,” she says.
Neighbors Day Celebration
You can start this appreciation by being a part of Iowa Juneteenth in Des Moines on Saturday, June 17 for the Neighbor’s Day Celebration. The event is from Noon to 8 p.m. at Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines and will have live entertainment, a children’s play area, motivational speakers, shopping, and more.
For more Neighbor’s Day info. check out: https://www.iowajuneteenth.org/neighbors-day.html.
Dwana also recommends honoring the holiday by stopping by your local library and finding books about the importance of Juneteenth, for the whole family.
Juneteenth 2023 Events
Emancipation Day: A Juneteenth Event
Saturday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Living History Farms
Living History Farms is offering an event that will help you gain a better understanding of the legacy and hope of emancipation and a chance to explore the black experience in Iowa from early farmsteads through the fight for civil rights.
For more information check out: https://www.lhf.org/event/emancipation-day-a-juneteenth-event-2/
Juneteenth Festival in Ankeny
Saturday, June 17 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the District at Prairie Trail in Ankeny
Stop by for food, live performances from the Isiserettes, Swan Ballet, and more, and vendors and activities for the whole family.
For more information check out: https://ankenycommunitynetwork.org/events-2/juneteenth/
Creston Juneteenth Freedom Festival
Sunday, June 18 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at McKinley Park
A fun family day is planned with bounce houses, live music, and FREE hot dogs and popsicles for the first 75 kids who attend!
Juneteenth Scavenger Hunt
June 13 to 18 at the South Side Library
Find Juneteenth-related images around the library and win a prize. For ages 7 and up.
Juneteenth Drop-In Craft
June 17-19 at the Franklin Avenue Library
Learn about the history of Juneteenth and make a colorful whirligig spinning toy.
About the Author
Deciding what you want to be when you grow up is a tough question, just ask Stephanie Lovelace, because she still hasn’t decided. First, she got a degree in journalism and was a newspaper reporter and public relations specialist, then went to college again and became an elementary teacher, now she stays home, homeschools three kids, and is a freelance writer. What’s stayed steady: her supportive husband, love of pets (current counts at three dogs and four cats), and being an Iowa girl.
Follow along with her current gig, on Instagram at @stephs_at_home.