My apologies for the delayed post on this very important day. This is the first year, since I’ve moved to Florida, that I was not required to attend work on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Happily, I finally got to attend the St. Petersburg, Florida, parade in honor of Dr. King.
The St. Petersburg parade, is the National Martin Luther King, Jr., Drum Major for Justice Parade. This year celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Parade, which is the largest MLK Parade in the South Eastern United States. Attendance historically tops 100,000 spectators and parade entrants come from across the United States.
Sunny weather, sitting across the street from the City of St. Petersburg Municipal Marina, I thoroughly enjoyed my first parade. I’m not even complaining about the massive sunburn I received on just my right ear, neck and chest. Here are just a few photos from today’s event.
Both the ferris wheel AND the carousel rotated – these float-riders looked particularly happy.
This particular marching band was that it included children of all ages. Look at that little drummer boy!
My favorite part of the parade was courtesy of the weeREAD Literacy Program of St. Petersburg. They had at least twenty volunteers, walking in the parade, handing out books to the crowds. I had planted myself near the end of the parade, which stretches over two miles, and there were still bags and bags of books to be handed out. Not only was it the best “giveaway” all day, but watching the excitement of little kids to GET the books was so unexpected and cool. With all the technology out there, kids still love books.
Lakewood High School marching band getting down. Love that both of the front line saxophonists were girls!
There was a surplus of young girl dance troupes in the parade. All doing very similar dances, and wearing very similar costumes. Personally, some of those girls were a little too young for some of those costumes, but that’s a different rant for a different day. So, after who knows how many groups of girls went past, there was this team (and yes, I’m kicking myself for not remembering the name of their troupe right now – it may have been Flawless Diamonds?). And at the back of about 35 girls was this one gentleman. And he was absolutely better than ANY of the girls out there. He owned it. He was a good dancer, he was confident but not cocky, and proud but not arrogant. Killed it.
Like I said, it was a long parade. These guys were actually walking (and riding) in the parade. This kid slept through marching bands!
“Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
*image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., via MulticulturalMinistries.Org