Awesome Foundation Grant Award Winner: Freds Dissonance

Written by: Brandi Malarkey

I call it a one-day Jubilee,” said Frederick Edwards Jr., the founder of Fred’s Dissonance, of the 5th Annual Fargo Juneteenth Celebration that will be hosted at NDSU’s Renaissance Hall. Fred’s Dissonance is organizing the event on June 15 to celebrate African American impact and promote cultural exchange and understanding.


Begun in the late 1800s but only recently recognized as a federal holiday, Juneteenth aims to commemorate the legacy of enslaved Americans by way of Africa by bringing people of diverse backgrounds together in a safe and inclusive space. It celebrates African American heritage and experiences while welcoming everyone in the community to participate.

“My favorite thing is seeing people with different mindsets come together and connect in real-time. We don’t want people to second guess whether or not they belong,” Fred said of the previous four Juneteenth celebrations. The 2023 Juneteenth celebration brought 1,200 community attendees. Juneteenth aims to create a brave space for exploration through art, conversation, and cultural activities. It provides an opportunity for people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds to come together without the pressure of alcohol. Attendees can expect to learn about different spectrums of black cultures, have fun, and engage with the true narrative of African American history. The event features various activities, performances, and food vendors.

“We’re going to showcase those stories in a beautiful way,” Fred said.

Artists are commissioned each year to add to the event narrative. The 2023 event featured a rocket ship elevator and a maze based on hair braid patterns. In addition to the work of new artists, 2024 will feature an interactive art installation from Sounds Engagement.

While the event is offered free to attendees, community donations and sponsors help pay artists for their work, provide meals for kids under 16, and support activities for both children and adults. The Cass Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation has named the 5th Annual Fargo Juneteenth Celebration as their February 2024 grantee. The $1,000 grant will be used to help support children’s activities at this year’s celebration.

The community can support Juneteenth by donating, volunteering, or spreading the word on social media. Everyone is encouraged to participate and contribute to making Juneteenth a memorable and impactful celebration of culture and heritage.

In addition to the 5th Annual Fargo Juneteenth Celebration, Fred’s Dissonance is also helping curate the 2nd Annual Film & Art Festival in Moorhead and Jamestown North Dakota’s Juneteenth “Art to the Future” event, both of which will take place this year. They are also working on creating a free manual for small towns on how to run a successful Juneteenth event of their own.

“My hope is that in five years, Fred’s Dissonance won’t need to be a thing,” Fred said. “That we will have so many cultural events happening in the community, from the community, it won’t be needed. I hope so.”

Supporters are welcome to learn more and sign up to help with the event through the website fredsdissonance.com or email Fred directly at [email protected].

Instagram | @fredsdissonance
Faceboook | /fredsdissonance

The Cass-Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation awards a $1,000 gift each month for awesome ideas of all sorts. Grant recipients do not need to be associated with a nonprofit. Applications can be made at awesomefoundation.org/en/chapters/cassclay.

Mark your calendars for these Juneteenth events:

5th Annual Fargo Juneteenth Celebration
June 15, 12-6pm

2nd Annual Film & Art Festival in Moorhead, MN
June 17, 4pm-8pm

Bismarck Juneteenth
June 19, 5pm-9pm

Jamestown Juneteenth, “Art to the Future”
June 22, 3pm – 6pm

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