Middletown’s Juneteenth Community Celebration set for weekend

Middletown’s fourth annual Juneteenth Community Celebration will span three days and include movie night, a parade, activities for kids, fireworks in Douglass Park and a soulful Sunday gathering downtown.

What began with Rayvn Jones’ vision to do something for the community has grown each year, including more sponsors, said Ashlei McGuire, an organizer this year.

The weekend will kick off Friday thanks to a partnership with the city to bring Family Movie Night to Douglass Park. The 2023 Little Mermaid will play at dusk with a meet and greet with characters from 7 to 9 p.m. Snacks for the kids will be offered during the movie.

A parade will be held Saturday and end at Douglass Park on Minnesota Street, where a full day of activities is planned from noon to 8 p.m. Fireworks will happen at dark.

Step off for the parade is noon. The route is Midpointe Library to Broad Street, merging onto Yankee Road, right to Eighth Avenue, left to Lincoln Street, right to 11th Avenue then left onto Minnesota Street and ending at the park.

At the park there will be a foam party, bounce houses, a dance team performance, a DJ, a basketball tournament and “tons and tons of different food trucks, food vendors and non-food vendors.”

For Soulful Sunday downtown outside Mz Jade’s Soul Food restaurant on Central Avenue, free snacks and games will be available for the children. Entertainment will include a youth choir and jazz band from 2 to 6 p.m.

“We are trying to make sure everyone feels included,” McGuire said. “It is not just a holiday for African Americans, but it is a holiday for all Americans.”

McGuire is Jones’ cousin, happy to support the vision and make it grow.

She said while they are from Middletown, both moved around and saw Juneteenth celebrations in other areas of the country they wanted to bring to their hometown.

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