Playland will host a special Juneteenth celebration on Monday, June 19, 2023, opening the park which is typically closed on Mondays throughout the season. The day will feature a variety of artists, musicians, and dancers who will perform Motown doo wop songs, host a children’s West African dance workshop, more – culminating to electric pulsating drum and dance circles by Bokandeye African American Dance Theater and a fireworks in the evening. All programs are free.
The day prior, on Father’s Day, on Sunday, June 18, Playland will offer free family photos to all dads from 10am to 3pm by Aviva Maller Photography who will take portraits on Playland’s recently reopened beach or amusement park.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Bokandeye African American Dance Theater this year to honor Juneteenth,” said Jeff Davis, General Manager of Playland. “The locally based dance group has been a leading cultural performance organization in the Greater New York area for decades with an amazing mission to uplift the spirit and create a positive sense of unity, community, and togetherness. We also are celebrating all dads at Playland this year with fun and free family portraits on our picturesque beach or park to create lasting memories for all.”
On Monday, June 19, The Bokandeye African American Dance Theater drummers will kick off a parade at 4 pm from the Fountain Plaza, followed by a festive and free-style West African dance circle, welcoming visitors, families, and kids to join. The dance and drum circle, also known as “Bantaba,” will be followed by the Children’s West African Dance Workshop from 5-5:45 pm, where young dancers can learn movements from a traditional West African dance called “Fanga,” which originated in Liberia and was made famous in Nigeria. At the end of the children’s workshop, Bokandeye will parade down to Playland’s main stage where kids who participated in the workshop are encouraged to perform “Fanga” with the group as the opening for Bokandeye’s live professional performance from 6-7 pm.
At 7:15 pm, guests will also be treated to the sights and sounds of Motown. Enjoy Playland’s trip to Detroit and covers of favorite Motown hits. In addition to the Juneteenth celebrations and the amusement park being open from 12pm to8 pm on June 19, Playland Beach and Pool will also be open from 10am to6 pm. Fireworks will take place at 9pm on June 19.
In summery, the schedule on Juneteenth will include:
10 am to 6 pm – Playland Beach and Pool are open
12 pm to 9 pm – Playland Amusement Park is open
4 pm – Drummer’s parade starting from the Fountain Plaza
5 to 5:45 pm – Children’s West African Dance Workshop in the Kiddy area of Playland
6 to 7 pm – Performance on Playland’s Main Stage
7:15 to 8:30 pm – Motown Concert
9 pm – Fireworks at Playland Beach