The event that has come to feel like the unofficial kickoff of the summer season, the West Contra Costa Juneteenth Family Day & Festival, is all set for Saturday, June 17.
The big day—according to event organizers—is all about “celebrating the contributions of African-Americans,” and also brings the Richmond community together for music, refreshments and more.
Organized by the National Block Association (previously the National Brotherhood Alliance), the City of Richmond and Chevron, the fun begins with a 9 a.m. parade launch at Marina Way and Cutting Boulevard, before proceeding through four different neighborhoods to Nicholl Park—where the slate of activities will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and include all sorts of diversions and entertainment.
Live music will rock the park from two different stages, and a poetry slam and dance contest are also on tap, as well as a Kid Zone for the littles. Arts, crafts and local food vendors will add to the excitement, and this year’s Grand Marshall will be the esteemed Nat Bates. A former mayor of Richmond, Bates is also a seven-time member of the Richmond City Council and has given the community more than 30 years of his service.
Among the event sponsors are BART, the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS), Wells Fargo, Mechanics Bank, AC Transit and SIMS Recycling. This year’s rendition of the special day is in memory of former festival vendors Big Earl and Mary Head.
“Last year, the Juneteenth Family Day Parade and Festival exceeded attendance records, attracting an audience of over 20,000 celebrants,” commented Jerrold Hatchett, president of the National Block Association, in a statement on the free family event.
Musical headliners this year will include Dawn Robinson, the famed singer-songwriter who co-founded En Vogue and was also a member of Lucy Pearl in addition to forging a successful solo career.
Activities for the kids are expected to span the gamut from a giant slide to pony and train rides, while vendor fare reportedly will showcase plenty of tasty BBQ and soul food.
For more details, please visit the National Block Association website or call 510-620-6516.
Kathy Chouteau, firstname.lastname@example.org