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Freedom to Celebrate: Community Collaboration for Magpie Diner’s Juneteenth Celebration

June 15, 2021 by Kate Harwood

Through the inspiring teamwork of Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed and owner of Magpie Diner, Kirsten Moore, Juneteenth will be a celebration for the entire Harrisonburg community.


Moore, owner of Magpie Diner, opened the diner in 2020 as an opportunity for the community to connect around food. In addition to being the Mayor of Harrisonburg, Mayor Reed is also a member of The Perch at Magpie and a good friend of Moore’s. They struck up a friendly conversation while Mayor Reed was attending a lunch meeting at the diner, Moore wanted to learn more about street closures for events, Mayor Reed pitched an idea for a Juneteenth event. With determination, willingness, and collaboration, planning for Magpie Diner’s Juneteenth Celebration was underway.  Councilman Christopher Jones was brought into the event planning, assisting Officer Westhall and Officer Howard in laying out the event’s footprint, shutting down Gay and Liberty Street, and assisting in selecting the music performances.


Moore recognizes the proximity Magpie Diner has to the Northeast Neighborhood, a historically black neighborhood within downtown Harrisonburg. With her friendship with Mayor Reed and having the space to throw a Juneteenth Celebration, Moore is excited and driven to create a Juneteenth event for Harrisonburg alongside Mayor Reed.  Due to Urban Renewal in the 1950s and 1960s, the thriving black community was destroyed and their historical preservation disappeared.


Moore acknowledges the importance of celebrating Juneteenth and the proximity of her business to the Northeast Neighborhood community.  I am honored that Kirsten Moore wanted to host the Juneteenth Celebration,” states Mayor Reed. 

The Juneteenth Celebration is on June 19, 2021, from 12 – 8 PM. Participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and dancing shoes to spread out and dance while the block is closed to vehicular traffic. Festivities will occur at both Magpie Diner and its neighbor, Sage Bird Ciderworks.  The event will include:

  • 12 – 8 PM Tacos El Primo will be onsite at Sage Bird Ciderworks.
  • 2 – 4 PM, Marlon Foster & Friends Jazz Trio will be performing.
  • 4 – 8 PM DJ Ike “The Spike” Miller will be performing the rest of the night.
  • 2 – 5 PM Sentara RMH hosting a free COVID Vaccine Clinic (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) available for anyone ages 12 and up along with Blood Pressure and Diabetes Screening. 
  • Starting at 5 PM, Magpie will be serving BBQ. The menu will feature grilled and smoked meats, all the sides, red velvet cake, and strawberry lemonade. Beer, wine, and red drinks are available for purchase. The meal will cost participants $10 each, children 10 and under eat free! Magpie Diner will be serving red drinks, representing the blood and perseverance of the slaves. 

Aligning with their core values and the success of their restaurant, Magpie Diner is happy to organize and host this event for the community. Magpie Diner is hosting the event, but not profiting from food sales – the fee for the food is specifically for the materials. 


Historically, Juneteenth “honors the end of slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.”


After last year, (with the racial injustice) we need new ways of celebrating the diversity of America and more opportunities to gather,”  states Councilman Jones. Councilman Jones hopes that “this sets a tone, that we will annually celebrate African Americans and other people of color. That we will take the time to celebrate and educate, teach the youth, and raise them in an environment, associating diversity with joy and celebration.” 


Dancing in the streets, good food, education around our history’s complicated past, the opportunity to be vaccinated, and listening to beautiful music will be among the wonderful activities on June 19. The powerful teamwork of Mayor Reed, Kirsten Moore, and Councilman Jones is greatly appreciated in the Harrisonburg community for the celebration of Juneteenth. 

Mayor Deanna Reed

Mayor Deanna Reed

Mayor Reed is excited about how this will be a great celebration for the community and people of Harrisonburg.

Kirsten Moore

Kirsten Moore

Moore is most excited about hosting an event that will bring the community together.

Councilman Christopher Jones

Councilman Christopher Jones

Councilman Jones is most excited about the people and excited to see them at the event.