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Whether you’re honoring the great civil rights leader by marching, volunteering or contemplating what he achieved (and what is still left to achieve), there’s no question that in Tampa Bay there are multiple ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. (It’s actually Jan. 15, but it’s been observed on the third Monday in January ever since a proclamation by the first President Bush in 1992, codifying the federal holiday established by President Ronald Reagan nine years before and first observed in 1986.)

The city of St. Pete will be alive with MLK Day festivities all day long and into the evening, beginning at 11 a.m. with the 34th Annual Dream Big Parade, which will travel along 1st Ave. S. from 2nd St. S. and end across the street from Tropicana Field on 16th St. S at 2 p.m. The Family Fun Day follows at the Trop from 2-8 p.m. with loads of free family-friendly fun, live entertainment, food vendors and more.

The Clearwater Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration will begin with a breakfast at the North Greenwood Recreation Complex and Buccaneer Field at 9 a.m. ($5 for adults and $3 for children 10 and younger),  followed by a 10:30 a.m. march to Buccaneer Field and a rally at noon. 

The 31st annual Tampa MLK Day Parade begins at noon and runs two miles from Cuscaden Park (2900 N. 15th St.) to Middleton High School. College marching bands from Alabama to Jamaica will take part, along with drum lines, floats and Miss Black Florida, Elyse Lewis.

And if you’re looking for volunteer opportunities as a way to observe Dr. King’s legacy, go to, where you can learn about local non-profits that can use your help. Congress designated the holiday as a national day of service in 1994 and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort.


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