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Special Events

2023 Juneteenth Celebration

Join us in creating lifelong memories through an engaging and educational day of culture in our 3-day Juneteenth Celebration!

  • Dates: Thursday, June 15th, 2023 – Saturday, June 17th, 2023

Thursday, June 15th, 2023 – Juneteenth: It’s History, Impact, & Significance Today  

  • Winter Haven Recreation & Cultural Center (WHRCC)
  • 6pm – 7:30pm
  • Come and learn more about the history of Juneteenth and how it affects our communities today in this town hall event.

Friday, June 16th 2023 – Movies at the Maude

  • Lake Maude Recreation Park
  • Movie begins at 8pm
  • Come and watch the award winning 2007 film, ‘The Great Debaters’ which features Denzel Washington as he depicts professor Melvin B. Tolson, who recruits the first black debate team to challenge Harvard’s prestigious debate champions.
  • Please bring your own chairs and blankets.
  • There will some popcorn and other light concessions for sale.

Saturday, June 17th, 2023 – 2023 Juneteenth Celebration 

  • Lake Maude Recreation Park
  • 11am – 4pm
  • Utilizing the many nonprofits and local educational institutions within Polk County, the festival will promote and provide an abundance of education and health resources.
  • This event will enhance each attendees’ understanding of African American culture by strategically infusing the visual and performing arts. The City aims to provide fun and safe activities, community awards, contests, and games while enjoying influential jazz and R&B musical acts.

June 19th is the official day of observance to celebrate African Americans and our newest National Holiday! Juneteenth marks the liberation of thousands of enslaved people of Galveston, Texas, on June 19th, 1865. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It is a tribute to the perseverance, and faith of African Americans.

Vendors & Sponsors

Winter Haven is home to over 1,500 minority-owned businesses. This celebration will provide vendors of all categories with the opportunity to expand their customer base while pouring into their own community. Limited vendor spots are available. Please take note of the following guidelines:

  • Nonprofit vendor space (10×10): Please email Natalie Wilson for further information:
  • Business vendor space (10×10): $60 / $75 after May 31st
  • Food vendor space (10×10): $95 / $135 after May 31st
  • Retail & Non-profit vendors are restricted from distributing/selling any food or beverage items.
  • All applications are due by June 4th, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.
  • All vendor fees must be submitted in full by June 10th, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.
  • Vendors are required to stay for the entirety of the event.

“The mission of the City of Winter Haven’s Juneteenth Celebration Committee is to bring appreciation and recognition of African American history by creating an atmosphere of unity through a modern-day celebration of heritage that educates, engages the broader community, and inspires future change-makers. “

– Juneteenth Celebration Committee

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, on June 19th, the Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official on January 1st, 1863. Juneteenth today celebrates African American freedom and achievement while encouraging unity and respect for all cultures.

Scholarship Opportunities 

  • The Lem Geathers Future Change Maker Scholarship (sponsored by The Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce)

The Future Change Maker Scholarship is awarded to a high school senior and Winter Haven resident based on their creative sharing, explanation, or interpretation of the significant history of the emancipation of African Americans who had been enslaved in the United States.

Award Amount: $1,000 (for one semester) & $100 for the teacher or school administrator of their choice.

Scholarship Application

Juneteenth Celebration Committee Members:

  • Alison Coleman
  • Andrej Lott
  • Breezi Hicks
  • Christine Samuels
  • Eric Ford
  • Julie Adams
  • Kadian Parchment
  • Larentis Smith
  • Monifia Neal
  • Natalie Wilson
  • Pamela Musgrove Turner
  • Ana Savaadra
  • Patricia Smithfield
  • Prima Burney
  • Scott Eilers
  • Valparisa Baker
  • Yulonda Bell
  • Sara Beth Wyatt
Thank you to our event sponsors and supporters!


Natalie Wilson
Special Events Coordinator