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Tampa Bay area events honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Tampa Bay area

Parades, galas, and comedy shows celebrate the work of the civil rights icon and Black history.

[Tampa Bay Times, excerpts]

By Kelly A. Stefani

Published 01/05/2022 

Plant City, Dade City, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Brooksville will hold parades celebrating the birth of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. [SCOTT KEELER]

Dr. Martin Luther King Parade Foundation Gala: This black-tie affair combines entertainment, awards presentations, food, and an opportunity to hear from gala honorees on what they are doing and how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired them. $75. 6-9 p.m. Thursday. TPepin’s Hospitality Centre, 4121 N 50th St., Tampa. 813-367-0040.

St. Petersburg Black History Bike Tour: Local historian Josette Green leads a 5-mile loop tour visiting sites where “Black history” was made. Stand on the land, see the sites and learn about the segregation and experience that continued through the years. Helmets are required. Donations to the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum appreciated. Free. 9 a.m. Saturday and Jan. 22. Chief’s Creole Cafe, 901 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg. 727-498-8979.

Josette Green shares historical information at a stop along the 5-mile Black History Bike Tour. [ Katee Morales ]

Plant City MLK Freedom Parade: The 36th annual “Our Community’s Will to Survive and Thrive”-themed parade features seven marching bands, floats, and a Corvette posse. The route will be from Wheeler ending on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Maryland Avenue at the Sadye Gibbs Martin Community Center. Free. Noon-3 p.m. Saturday. Bing House Museum, 205 S Allen St., Plant City. 813-659-4200.

The Stompdown Experience: A competition of step teams from elementary, middle school, high school, independent, and Greek step teams from all over the country. $15-$30. 7-10 p.m. Saturday. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. 813-400-3078.

Step teams from across the country compete in the Stompdown Experience.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade Dade City: The parade lines up at Rodney B. Cox Elementary School at 9 a.m., stepping off at 10 a.m. and making its way from Martin Luther King Boulevard to the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center (Pasco County Circuit Court Building). Free. 10 a.m. Jan. 15. Rodney B. Cox Elementary School, 37615 Martin Luther King Blvd., Dade City. 352-521-1460.

MLK Dream Big Weekend Concert: This open-air jazz concert pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Free. 11 a.m. Jan. 15. Albert Whitted Airport, 540 First St. SE, St. Petersburg. 727-321-7919.

MLK: “We Are the Dream” Expo: You can commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and support local businesses at this festival with vendors, dancers, live entertainment, music, a kids corner, food, speakers, games, and activities. Free. Noon-4 p.m. Jan. 15. Gibbs High School, 850 34th St. S, St. Petersburg. 727-893-5452.

Drummer and singer Sheila E. performed at the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Music Festival in 2021. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival: Music Fest 2022: Gates open at noon for headline performances by The Bar-Kays and Jane Eugene on Jan. 15 and Euge Groove and Erica Campbell on Jan. 16. $15-$40. 1-9 p.m. Jan. 15-16. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa.

Al Downing Jazz 50th Anniversary Celebration: Award-winning singer, saxophonist, songwriter, and entertainer Danny Bacher headlines the third annual Palladium Jazz Awards. This year the awards show celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Al Downing Tampa Bay Jazz Association. $20-$36. 4 p.m. Jan. 16. Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. 727-822-3590.

Tampa Pride Ultimate Showdown: MLK Weekend: Brianna Summers serves as host for an MLK tribute talent contest honoring the “pioneers who have paved the way for our rights.” $10-$20. 7 p.m. Jan. 16. Southern Nights, 1401 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. 813-247-1019.

Tampa Organization of Black Affairs MLK Leadership Breakfast: Politicians, members of grassroots organizations, and the community gather for the 42nd annual MLK Leadership Breakfast. This year’s keynote speaker is the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver, representing Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District. $50. 6:45-9 a.m. Jan. 17. Tampa Marriott Water Street, 505 Water St., Tampa. 813-221-4900.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left, walks with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., at the Capitol in Washington. He will serve as the keynote speaker for the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs MLK Leadership Breakfast. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) [ J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE | AP ]

MLK Day of Service: Area youths are invited to join the second annual workday at the farm to celebrate the examples of Martin Luther King. Free. 9 a.m.-noon Jan. 17. St. Pete Youth Farm, 1664 12th St. S. 727-585-3930.

MLK Drive-Up Service: Celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. at a drive-up service. Free. 10 a.m. Jan. 17. Moore-Mickens Education Center, 38301 Martin Luther King Blvd., Dade City. 352-521-1460.

Brooksville MLK Day Parade: The parade returns in 2022 with a “Moving the Dream Forward” theme. Participants line up on Varsity Drive, turn right onto Oakwood Drive, left onto Howell Avenue, and left on Fort Dade Avenue. Free. 10 a.m. Jan. 17. Hernando High School, 111 Ernie Chatman Run, Brooksville. 352-398-5139.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times The Lakewood High School Marching Spartans perform on 1st Ave S in St, Petersburg while participating in the MLK Dream Big Parade in 2019. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times (2019) ]

MLK Dream Big Weekend Parade: The 2022 MLK Day parade features appearances by bands from Talladega College, Tuskegee University, Texas Southern University, Palm Beach Lakes High School, Miami Carroll City High School, Miles College, Booker T. Washington High School, Miami Norland High School, Stranahan High School, and Daytona Beach Mainland High School. It starts at Third Street and First Avenue S, proceeds west to 16th Street, and disbands next to Tropicana Field. Free. 11 a.m. Jan. 17. Along with First Avenue S, St. Petersburg. 727-321-7919.

Tampa Dr. Martin Luther King Parade: After a year off due to COVID-19, the parade resumes even more significant than in 2020. It starts at Cuscaden Park and ends at Middleton High School. Free. Noon Jan. 17. Cuscaden Park, 2900 N 15th St., Tampa. 813-803-8060.

WEDU salutes Martin Luther King Day with a film screening about the legacy of heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. (AP Photo/John Rooney, File) [ JOHN ROONEY | AP ]

The Greatest: MLK Screening: WEDU PBS observes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and honors the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali with a screening of The Greatest. A panel discussion follows. Free (registration required). 6 p.m. Jan. 17. Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St. 813-274-8286.

Full list of Martin Luther King Jr, Day events throughout Tampa Bay!

John Warner

John Warner

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