From breakfasts to festivals, MLK events abound statewide

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BY ANDREAS BUTLER
FLORIDA COURIER

There are plenty of events across Florida for residents seeking to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Events include concerts, parades, breakfasts, festivals and more in cities statewide. 

Dr. Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta on Jan. 15, 1929. He was murdered on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. 

This year’s official Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observance is Monday, Jan. 20. 

TAMPA 

The Tampa Organization of Black Affairs (TOBA) is hosting its 40th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Breakfast on Jan. 20 at the Hilton Hotel, 211 Tampa Ave., at 6:45 a.m.

Dr. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., chair of African American Studies at Princeton University is the keynote speaker. Glaude is author of “Democracy In Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul.”

“We’re excited to have Dr. Glaude, an expert on social and political issues facing not only Black America but America and the world. We bring in national speakers each year to speak on Dr. King’s principles and relate them to what is happening today,” said Kari Knowles, TOBA’s media relations specialist and board member. 

Over 1,000 attendees 

The event is one of the largest MLK breakfast events in Florida with more than 1,000 people in attendance each year.  

“This event has definitely grown and progressed. The first breakfast in 1980 had about 200 people. For the past five years, we’ve had over 1,000,” confirmed Knowles. Tickets for the breakfast are sold out. 

Celebrating the civil rights icon’s legacy is still considered vital. 

“TOBA is built on the principles that Dr. King embodied, including economic development, social engagement and political engagement in the Black community. We will work on teaching to youth to be the next generation of leaders to engage in our society,’’ Knowles stated. 

Festival and parade 

The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary during MLK weekend. On Jan. 1819, the annual music festival takes place at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Ave., from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. R&B/ soul group Tony Toni Tone is among the featured performers. 

The City of Tampa’s MLK Day Parade is Monday from noon to 3 p.m. The two-mile parade runs from Cuscaden Park to Middleton High School.

FORT LAUDERDALE 

The Back to Black D All Black Boatride is Jan. 18 on Mussett Yatch in Smoker Park. Boarding is at 9 p.m. and sailing is at 10 p.m. Tickets are $45. 

Also that day at 3 p.m., the Broward County Main Library at 1000 S. Andrews Ave., is the site of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Peace Craft. Kids learn about King and make a craft. 

The 3 Kings Brunch & Day Party is Jan. 19 at the Himmarshee Public House, 201 SW 2nd Street from noon to 6 p.m. 

On Monday, the 43rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade begins at Lincoln Park at 9:30 a.m. 

The parade is followed by a multicultural festival at Esplanade Park, 400 SW 2nd Street. 

ORLANDO 

The Southwest Orlando Jaycee’s 36th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade in downtown Orlando is 8 a.m. Jan. 18. 

A South Street Jazz and Blues event is scheduled for 11 a.m. Jan. 18 at Palmer Feed Store, 912 W. Church St. It’s a family-oriented day commemorating King’s life that includes music, entertainment and food.

The MLK Concert: A Gospel Concert Celebration takes place on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Orlando, 142 E. Jackson St. The event is presented by the Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. It will feature The Aeolians of Oakwood University. The concert celebrates 34 years of the King holiday in songs and performances. 

The 13th annual Parramore Clean-Up Service Project is Jan. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to noon beginning at the Florida A&M University College of Law at 201 Beggs Ave. FAMU Law Professor Patricia Broussard is coordinating the event.

JACKSONVILLE

On Monday, several events are happening in Jacksonville. 

The Holiday Grand Parade is downtown at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It starts at Daily’s Place Amphitheater on Bay Street and ends near the Prime Osborn Convention Center at the beginning of Johnson Street.

A King celebration is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens at 829 Riverside Ave. 

A Rush to Vegan MLK Day Celebration runs from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 1818 Duss St. with two-for-one smoothies, face painting, bounce house, music and games.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have A Dream Festival is at Woodland Acers Park on N. Bowlan Street from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

MIAMI 

On Jan. 18, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of National Service is at Elizabeth Verrick Park at 3255 Plaza St. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Join Miami Commissioner, Ken Russell and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier Suarez for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the park commemorating park improvements and a Day of Service volunteer project. 

The 37th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. 5K walk is on Monday. The race starts at 8 a.m. at Plaza Memorial Station, 6205 NW 27th Ave. It benefits the Miami-Dade Youth Explorers.

Also that day, the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade is in Liberty City at 11 a.m. The parade runs along NW 54th Street from NW 10th Avenue to NW 32nd Avenue. 

Following the parade is the Pan-African & Caribbean Family Festival.

ST. PETERSBURG

The MLK Music and Cultural Festival is at Albert Whitted Park, 480 Bayshore Drive, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Jan. 18. The event is free and features live entertainment. 

The 34th Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Big Parade is Monday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. The parade runs from 1st Avenue to Tropicana Field. 

The Dream Big Family Fun Day also takes place on Monday at Tropicana Field from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m.

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