Looking for a special way to commemorate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., this weekend?
Cities throughout the state have planned parades, prayer breakfasts, gospel services and even fitness runs to celebrate MLK Day and honor the slain civil rights leader this year on his birthday, a federal holiday.
Here are some highlights you’ll want to check out if you’re in the area.
- St. Petersburg: A Battle of Bands & Drum Line Extravaganza, along with a national parade, draws 100,000 spectators and features the best high-stepping bands from high schools and universities across the country. The extravaganza is at 4 p.m. on Jan. 19 at Tropicana Field Dome, One Tropicana Dr. Tickets are $15 at the gate. The parade, featuring many of the same bands, is at 11 a.m. on Jan. 20, beginning at Dr. MLK Street and 3rd Avenue South and winding through downtown before ending in Vinoy Park, 701 Bayshore Dr. NE. Info: http://mlknationalparade.org
- Fort Lauderdale: The Museum of Art hosts an opening party on Jan. 18 for “The Movement: Bob Adelman and Civil Rights Era Photography,” an exhibit featuring the imagery of renowned photographer Bob Adelman. Between 1963 and 1968, Adelman was a photographer for the Congress of Racial Equality, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and other civil rights organizations. His unique vantage point at the forefront of the Civil Rights movement led him to produce some of that era’s most iconic images. Featuring 100 black-and-white photographs, the exhibit runs through May 17. The opening party, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., is open to the public and free at the museum, One E. Las Olas Blvd., in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Info: http://www.moafl.org
- Orlando: A showcase of the area’s most prestigious praise & worship teams from churches and communities will perform and compete on Jan. 18 before a panel of local celebrity judges following the annual 10 a.m. downtown Orlando MLK, Jr., Parade. The showcase, sponsored by the Southwest Orlando Jaycees, starts at 1 p.m. at the Lake Eola Bandshell, 195 N. Rosalind Ave., in downtown Orlando. Info: http://www.cityoforlando.net/executive/Communications/events/mlk/index.htm
- Jacksonville: “Let Freedom Sing,” a free concert featuring music inspired by the Civil Rights movement sung by local church choirs and gospel singers will be held at Edward Waters College’s Milne Auditorium, 1658 Kings Rd. An abbreviated version of the concert also will be held on Jan. 20 at the conclusion of the MLK Holiday Grand Parade at 1 p.m. at Metropolitan Park, 1410 Gator Bowl Blvd., in downtown Jacksonville. Info: http://mlkfdnorg.com/intro/mlk-post-parade-celebration/
- Tampa: A free two-day Music Fest on Jan. 18 & 19 is part of the 10-day Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, with an impressive lineup that includes The Ohio Players on Saturday, with jazz band Pieces of a Dream and jazz vocalist-guitarist Nick Colionne appearing on Sunday. Art, food and activities go on all day before the evening concerts at Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Dr. Info: http://tampablackheritage.org