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Oakland hosts the Black Joy Parade Sunday. Here's what to know about the festivities

Thousands crowd downtown Oakland for Black Joy Parade
Thousands crowd downtown Oakland for Black Joy Parade 03:18

OAKLAND -- The 7th annual Black Joy Parade will take place in downtown Oakland on Sunday afternoon. 

Thousands of people are expected to attend the family-friendly, day-long event. Here's what you need to know about the festivities. 

What is the Black Joy Parade?

The Black Joy Parade is described by organizers as a "hyper-positive" annual event "that celebrates the Black experience and community's contribution to history and culture." The parade and celebration were founded by Elisha Greenwell and Amber Lester in 2018 when it was first held. The event was born from the marches and protests of Black Lives Matter and Occupy to a community fighting for social justice.

"That was really the only time you saw a lot of us together. It was these fights against the system and having to be on the frontlines like we always are," Greenwell told KPIX in a recent interview. "And I just wanted to have a moment where it wasn't that; that we were gathered in a big group for celebration."

And it was during that first celebration that drew more than 14,000 attendees that Greenwell and her sister  Lester realized they had created something special.

When and where does the Black Joy Parade start?

The parade begins promptly at 12:30 p.m. at 14th Street and Franklin. The procession will travel along Franklin Street for about five blocks and end at 19th Street and Franklin where the accompanying festival is being held, approximately 90 minutes after the parade starts at around 2 p.m. 

Anyone who wants to see the parade can do so as the event is free. Attendees can expect to see car clubs, floats, dancers and more. 

Black Joy Parade Route Map
The Black Joy Parade will begin at 12th Street and Franklin on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024. Black Joy Parade

The parade will end near the celebration site, where attendees can enjoy more of what the Black Joy Parade has to offer.

How do I get to the Black Joy Parade?

There will be street closures and parking restrictions along the parade route and in the festival area. Attendees are advised to take public transportation. Multiple AC Transit bus lines through the area will stop within a block or two of the festivities, though there will be some line detours due to street closures. Both the 12th Street City Center and 19th Street BART stations are very close to the parade route and festival site. BART has set up an information page on its website with tips on how to get there.  

Where is the Black Joy Parade Celebration Site?

The Celebration Site will be held in a four-block area centered around 20th Street and Franklin from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. The festivities take place between 19th and 21st Streets and Broadway and Webster. Entrances to the site are located at 19th Street and Franklin and 20th Street and Broadway.

Black Joy Parade Celebration Site
The Black Joy Parade Celebration Site will have festivities going on from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Black Joy Parade

Who will perform at the Black Joy Parade Celebration?

There will be food and drink stands throughout the area so attendees can grab refreshments and explore the more than 200 Black-operated vendors featuring handmade arts and crafts and cultural services. There will also be family activities at the Lil Joy area for kids, Games n' Grooves and a Healing Village.

There are two music stages: The Black Joy Parade Stage at 20th Street and Webster and the Diaspora Stage near 21st Street and Franklin.  

Entertainment at the Black Joy Parade will include an expected performance by the parade choir, vocalists Durand Bernarr, Melodious, DJ Lady Ryan, Cin, Darius Parker, Aneesa Strings and Brian Henry. Ryan Nicole and Dcischillin will host the stage.

The Disapora Stage will be headlined by Dear Silas Other performers include Smoov, NDL Band, Valerie Troutt, Slaira Shawn and Hourglass and Xavier BLK of WERC Crew as well as host Chaney Turner.

Free tickets for the Black Joy Parade and Celebration can be reserved at Eventbrite. More information is available at the Black Joy Parade website.

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