CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – With hundreds of cheering spectators, school bands, local officials and businesses, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade kicked off on a beautify but chilly day in downtown Charleston.
The parade is nearly a 20-year-old tradition here in the Holy City and it’s a chance to collectively bring the community together for a day of service. What first started as a parade in January of 1972 has now formed into a 10-day event here in Charleston and the largest MLK celebration in the state of South Carolina.
Organizers of the Young Women’s Christian Association of Greater Charleston say the parade is part of a day of service. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. was instrumental in leading people from all walks of life to be service-oriented. He pushed for those around him to be servant leaders and transformational leaders. Monday is a day that people from all over celebrate all that he accomplished.
“Which includes bringing folks from North Charleston, Dorchester County, Berkeley County together to celebrate Dr. King’s servant leadership,” said YWCA board member Radia Heyward.
North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess was the parade’s grand marshall.
An estimate 3-thousand people will head out to Monday’s celebration to support more than 100 bands, marchers, floats, and groups. If you’re headed out to Monday’s parade, expect to have a good time.
“Be ready to cheer on, be ready to dance, be ready to love your neighbor and just have faith in our community that we are one for all collectively,” Heyward said.
Nearly 3,000 people were in downtown Charleston to celebrate Dr. King through the 48-year-old parade.
150 bands, floats and marchers took over downtown as they paraded from Burke High School through Fishburne Street and finished off at Calhoun Street.
The celebration that started back in 1972 has become a tradition for many and the cold and windy weather didn’t stop many from coming out.
Some parade watchers told News 2 they come out every year, and to them, the parade is the best way to remember Dr. King and all of the work that he did.
Portia Haynes says she is normally in the parade but decided to stay on the sidelines this year with her husband to take it all in.
“For me, when you see the diversity of the parade and the people that have come out to celebrate the diversity that is happening throughout the City of Charleston and through the world; But when you see the parade, all the differences and the cultures and the celebration – It is just an awesome thing to see,” said Haynes.