UH adds second stage for second annual Juneteenth celebration
University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan and Housing Director Geoff Englebrecht knew a Juneteenth celebration in University Heights could be a success. They just never anticipated how successful it would become, and how quickly.
“We knew there was a need for such an event,” Brennan said. “We hoped the community would embrace it, and it would slowly grow each year.
“However, as we finish preparations for our second celebration, we see now how important the event has become.”
Northeast Ohio native and two-time Grammy Award-winner Anthony “Krayzie Bone” Henderson of Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony will headline the second annual University Heights Juneteenth Celebration on Sunday, June 18, at Walter Stinson Community Park.
“For our event to attract the attention of Krayzie Bone, someone who has sold over 30 million records, that makes a statement,” Brennan said. “It says Juneteenth is important, and University Heights knows how to throw a celebration.”
Caine, Mookie Motonio, and Nova the Rebel from The Life Entertainment will also perform.
The family-friendly event begins at 1:30 p.m. and will run until 8:30 p.m. Krayzie Bone and friends will take the stage at 7:30 p.m.
In 2021, after Juneteenth became a national holiday, Brennan called for the establishment of a Citizens Committee to plan for an annual celebration. Englebrecht took the lead in organizing the event.
“With the support of the mayor, we’ve been able to put together a celebration unlike any other in Northeast Ohio,” Englebrecht said. “Residents have taken part in the planning process step-by-step, and the result is an event that is a mix of culture, history and entertainment.
“It’s now more than a University Heights event. It’s an event of regional significance.”
Also performing on the main stage will be the Cleveland Chorale, Councilman Conwell & The Footprints, and Hubbs Groove. The Spread the Love Foundation (https://spreadtheloveoh.com) will make a special presentation.
The event was quickly embraced last year, said Englebrecht, and the support is growing. “It didn’t take long for me to find residents and small-business owners who were interested,” he said.
Last year’s event featured one main stage. In 2023, thanks in part to financial support from Dollar Bank, the celebration will feature a second community stage.
The community stage will feature Heights Poet Laureate Siaara Freeman, Yoga with Samantha Pierce, Nova Performing Arts, Zumba with Candice Hall, a community forum with Dr. Alicia Sloan, Xtreme Hip Hop with Phil Weeden, and Zumba with Janice Hudson.
More than 50 local vendors and organizations will participate, including University Hospitals, Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing, the University Heights Library, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, the Cuyahoga ADAMHS (Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services) Board, and the Cleveland Water Department.
The event is open to all, but especially dads, said Englebrecht. “Our Juneteenth Celebration falls on Father’s Day,” he noted. “Treat your dad to a fun event. And tell him he can fire up the grill another day. We’ll have plenty of food trucks on site.”
Food trucks scheduled for Juneteenth include Dawg Bowl Food Truck (Cajun), Samurai Dynasty, Blasian Fusion Foods, and Feeed Myyyy Bellyyy. Food carts will include The Yummy Cart, Sprinkles and Milk, Dogs on the Go.
Mike Cook is the communications and civic engagement director for University Heights.