CSU co-sponsors first community-led Juneteenth Celebration in Fort Collins June 17-19

African Americans with raised fists

The first weekend-long Juneteenth Celebration in Fort Collins is set for June 17-19, and Colorado State University is playing a leading role in hosting the events.

Juneteenth is a federal holiday celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, and Colorado will recognize Juneteenth as an official state holiday for the first time on June 20. The Fort Collins celebration will take place at the Foothills Mall, Rolland Moore Park and the Boys and Girls Club of Larimer County-Fort Collins, and more volunteers are needed.

Activities throughout the weekend include live music and dancing, BIPOC-owned or -led businesses and organizations, educational workshops and seminars celebrating Black culture, a family-friendly bike ride, yoga and more. Community members of all identities are invited to participate in the learning and celebration of Black culture in Northern Colorado.

‘An intergenerational celebration’

“The Juneteenth weekend will be full of events for all ages,” said Bridgette Johnson, CSU assistant vice president for inclusive excellence and co-leader of the planning committee. “It’s an intergenerational celebration, and we’re hoping it’s one of the largest cultural events of the year for our community. More importantly, we hope the community at large, throughout the city of Fort Collins, takes time and truly recognizes the inequities and fights for long-overdue change. Celebrating is not enough.”

Deirdre Sullivan — president and CEO of United Way of Larimer County, which provided fiscal sponsorship for the event — agreed.

“Recognizing Juneteenth, its significance in our nation’s history, and the continued leadership and celebration of Black and African Americans in Larimer County reflects United Way’s commitment to advancing racial equity and supporting community-led work,” she said. “We hope everyone will join us in participating in the wonderful events scheduled throughout the weekend and thanking Juneteenth’s liberation sponsors, CSU and Nutrien.”

Starts Friday, June 17

Festivities kick off Friday night at the Foothills Mall, featuring live music from Denver-based artists Soul School, while teens spend the evening at the Boys and Girls Club. Following the official welcome at the mall from the Juneteenth committee and liberation sponsors Nutrien and Colorado State University, Saturday features family-friendly activities at the mall, including a bike ride, yoga with Black yogis and dancing to Afro Beats. There will also be a variety of free workshops, performances and live music from Fort Collins’ Elmer Funk Band, with Denver-based artist Kid Astronaut ending the evening.

Kid Astronaut
Kid Astronaut

The weekend celebration culminates on Sunday, June 19. The morning starts with a 5K bike ride in collaboration with Green Events. It leaves from Foothills Mall, and registration is available online. There will be a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at Rolland Moore Park, followed by a Father’s Day Tribute and musical performances at the park. Some events require advance registration. Community members are invited to visit FoCoJuneteenth.com for more details about the weekend.

The Juneteenth Celebration is supported by generous sponsors and community volunteers, and additional volunteers are needed to make the weekend a success. Visit bit.ly/FoCoJuneteenthVolunteers to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

About FoCo Juneteenth

The FoCo Juneteenth committee was formed in 2021 with the goal to correct widely spread misinformation about Juneteenth by bringing the freedom day celebration to life in Fort Collins. Led by volunteers and advocates from the community, the organization aims to celebrate Black and African American culture through an annual Juneteenth celebration. For more information, visit FoCoJuneteenth.com and follow instagram.com/focojuneteenth on Instagram.