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Free Outside Garden Festival: Juneteenth at Carlyle Historic Park in Old Town Alexandria

Discover the history of Juneteenth through hands-on activities, art, history, and poetry readings.

Stone four-square 18th century house with brick walkway
Carlyle House Historic Park, once home to slave-holding John Carlyle, holds Juneteenth celebration. (Photo: Grace Billups Arnold)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Carlyle House, a historic house, museum, and park, is hosting its free annual Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 17, 2023 from 12 – 4 pm. in collaboration with The Athenaeum, a regional arts organization, and C. Alexandria-Bernard Thomas, a Black Non-Binary, award-winning poet.

The event will be held outside in the gardens and on the lawn and tented terrace of the Carlyle House located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. Discover the history of Juneteenth through hands-on activities, art, history, and poetry readings. Activities are part of the planned offerings for the day that marks the liberation of Black Americans on June 19, 1865.

SEE: Carlyle Knocks Juneteenth Out of the Park at Its First-Ever Juneteenth Festival, June 2022

“For this celebration we are thrilled to present artworks by visual artist Michael Spears and three magnificent poets: Micah the Poet, Carlynn Newhouse, and Mysfit,” says Veronica Szalus, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association.  “Visitors will have the opportunity to talk with the poets after and in-between performances as well as share their written and/or drawn reactions to the powerful performances.”

The festival will include displays sharing research to date on the enslaved individuals owned by John Carlyle, one of the original founders of Alexandria, and his descendants.

“There will also be a scavenger hunt giving visitors the chance to learn more about our country’s second independence day,” added Szalus.

A man is painting a piece of cloth applying symbols.
Adinkra print making includes a cloth is stamped and patterned with traditional Ashanti symbols. Each symbol has its own meaning. People in Ghana decorate the cloth by using a black dye made of bark. (Photo:

The Athenaeum is also offering Adinkra printmaking activities.

The museum will be open. Visit for updates on participating artists and vendors and the schedule of events.  Find on Facebook: @CarlyleHouse and on Instagram: @CarlyleHouseVA.  For additional information, call 703-549-2997.  This event is supported, in part, by the Friends of Carlyle House.

Carlyle House tells the story of John Carlyle, one of Alexandria’s town founders, and his enslaved laborers, and explores the evolution of the site through the Civil War and beyond. The museum offers public programs for all ages, hands-on programs, educational tours for students, specialty tours, architectural walking tours, and guided tours of the house.  The museum is situated one block off King Street with gardens that are an urban oasis throughout the year. 

The Athenaeum Gallery is the headquarters of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association (NVFAA). Founded in 1964, the NVFAA is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in all forms of art, and to establishing programs that will enrich the cultural life of Northern Virginia and the surrounding metropolitan area. The Athenaeum Gallery exhibits work created solely by artists living or working in the region and strives to present visitors with a wide variety of excellent work and unique experiences.

SEE ALSO: Juneteenth Events Happening in Alexandria, Virginia

Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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