ST. PETERSBURG FL (970 WFLA) -- A new route and several surrounding events mark this year's Martin Luther King Day parade in St. Petersburg.
The St. Petersburg parade started in the mid-Eighties, about the time the federal government first designated a holiday on the Monday nearest to Dr. King's birth anniversary. It's grown to be one of the largest MLK parades in the Southeast and the nation. But co-organizer Jeffrey Copeland doesn't want it to rest on its laurels. "It was already a great parade, but you can always build on top of greatness," Copeland says.
The parade starts at 3rd Street and 1st Avenue South at 11 a.m. The new route goes down 1st Avenue to 16th Street and turns two blocks south to enter Tropicana Field, where it ends. Copeland says the new route opens up parking along Central Avenue, allowing more spaces for paradegoers.
Participants include five college bands: Florida A&M, South Carolina State, Talladega College, Edward Waters College of Jacksonville, and Tuskegee University. Several local high school bands are also taking part.
Tropicana Field is also the site of a family fun event that starts after the parade around 2 p.m. , put on with the help of St. Petersburg native Marreese Speights, currently playing for the NBA's Orlando Magic.
Logo courtesy MLK Dream Big