Massachusetts and it's neighboring states have officially declared Juneteenth as a Federal Holiday as President Biden signed the measure last year as neighboring New York also gives government workers a paid day off. But it should NOT be treated as a long weekend as it should be used as a day to reflect on a pivotal moment in history. In neighboring Connecticut, this motion will not be implemented until next year.

Juneteenth (June 19th) is a day where slavery officially came to an end in Texas as we take you back to 1865 for this historical milestone. The proclamation assured total freedom to those who were held against their own will and this measure came into fruition two years after President Abraham Lincoln enacted The Emancipation Proclamation.

The day is celebrated in an assortment of ways which include parades, music festivals, pageants and parties. Prior to this recognition, statistics showed at least 60% of Americans were unaware of why this is an annual celebration as the declaration has also prompted closures in our vicinity. You still have many opportunities to commemorate this national holiday:

On Sunday, the city of Pittsfield will hold an outdoor event at Durant Park from 12 noon to 7 pm featuring music, food and plenty of activities for youngsters including free ice cream and hot dogs (while supplies last). For more details, you can access this link on Facebook.

MassMoca in North Adams will present a concert featuring Terrence Simien and The Zydeco Experience on Saturday, June 18th at The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. As per COVID-19 protocols, masks MUST be worn and proof of vaccination is required. For more information, log on to MassMoca's web site.

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington hosts a FREE event in honor of Juneteenth on Sunday, June 19th at 7pm. A documentary film premiere will also be presented and a community conversation is also on the agenda. This presentation is sponsored by The Black Legacy Project.

And now you'll need to know what is OPEN and CLOSED on Monday, June 20th on the official observance of Juneteenth:

Banks, public libraries, schools (including Berkshire Community College), city, state and Federal offices are CLOSED.

Post offices are also CLOSED. There will be NO mail delivery.

BRTA Bus service will operate on a holiday schedule. Administrative offices will be CLOSED.

The Berkshire Museum on South Street in Pittsfield will be OPEN Sunday from 12 noon to 5 pm and on Monday from 10am to 5 pm. Reservations are suggested prior to arrival. Reservations are suggested by going to their web site.

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge will be OPEN on Sunday and Monday from 10 am to 5 pm. Advance tickets are required by logging on here.

MassMoca in North Adams will be OPEN Sunday and Monday from 10am to 6 pm. Advanced tickets MUST be purchased by accessing this link.

Williams College Museum of Art at The North Adams campus is OPEN from 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday. Send an e-mail to obtain tickets and more information.

Hancock Shaker Village, just south of Pittsfield will be OPEN Sunday and Monday from 11 am to 4 pm.

The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown is also OPEN from 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday and Monday. Advance tickets are suggested by going here.

Finally, Chesterwood in Stockbridge is OPEN from 10 am to 5pm on Sunday and Monday. The venue also requires advance timed tickets by logging on to their web site.

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