WEST ORANGE On Jan. 15, Civil Rights Movement activist and minister Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been celebrating his 88th birthday. Millions of Americans will honor his birthday and reflect on his contributions to the civil rights movement on MLK Day Jan. 16, but residents in the West Orange area will celebrate him throughout the week with parades, community events and more.
OCOEE DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. PARADE
The city of Ocoee’s 11th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Parade and Celebration on Jan. 16 is presented by the City of Ocoee’s Human Relations Diversity Board. Festivities begin at Citrus Elementary School with a parade at 10 a.m., where attendees can enjoy an array of dancing groups, marching bands, motorcycles and floats. The parade ends in the West Oaks Mall parking lot.
In addition to the parade is a celebration, at which Pastor Bryan Stamper, Ph.D. — a pastor at Quest Church for 43 years — is the keynote speaker. Held in the West Oaks Mall parking lot, the celebration lasts from 11 a.m. to noon and includes performances from the New Life Church of Ocoee choir and dance group and free health screenings from Walgreens. Finally, West Oaks Mall will host Evelyn’s Creations third annual Martin Luther King Jr. Bike Show to benefit children fighting cancer.
Parade participants are asked to preregister by printing the form found on the city’s website. In case of rain, events will take place inside West Oaks Mall.
OAKLAND AVENUE CHARTER MLK ESSAY PRESENTATION
The school’s fifth graders have been hard at work since last month composing essays on topics related to Martin Luther King Jr. for a contest. On Monday, Jan. 16, the top three finalists in the school’s MLK essay contest will present their essays to town residents between 5 and 6 p.m. at the town of Oakland’s meeting hall.
WINTER GARDEN MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CELEBRATION
The city of Winter Garden is also hosting its eighth annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Jan. 14. Festivities begin with a community march from East Bay Street to the Orlando Magic Gym at 12:30 p.m. The event lasts until 4 p.m. and includes various activities, guest speakers, kids’ activities, entertainment and vendors.
Those interested in participating in the march should meet at 118 E. Bay St. at 12:30 p.m.
ORANGE COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM “I HAVE A DREAM” CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES
To honor Martin Luther King Jr., two local OCLS branches are putting on a one-hour activity for children ages 6 to 12. Both the Southwest Branch in Dr. Phillips and the West Oaks Branch in Ocoee will be hosting their “I Have A Dream” events to teach children about King and his influence on civil rights.
Kids will learn about the life and dream of MLK by making crafts inspired by their own dreams and the importance of peace and togetherness. Those interested in attending must preregister.
The Southwest Branch’s event is Jan. 18 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., while the West Oaks Branch’s is Jan. 17 from 5 to 6 p.m.
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected]