CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The 51st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade was celebrated in person Monday for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced many events to go virtual in early 2020.

Organizers expected — and were not disappointed – by a large showing on downtown streets with most vendors dedicated to participating in this year’s event.

“Bands, school youth, youth groups, churches, businesses. We want people to just come out and watch the parade, give us a wave, Happy King Day, all the celebratory ways that we honor Dr. King on that day,” said LaVanda Brown, executive director, YWCA of Greater Charleston.

The YWCA of Greater Charleston hosts the parade each year along with myriad other events to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including an MLK Breakfast Summit and Ecumenical Service.

This year’s parade marshall, KJ Kearney, is the founder of Black Food Fridays, a James Beard-nominated social media campaign to support Black-owned restaurants.

The parade began at Burke High School and near Johnson Hagood Stadium in downtown Charleston beginning at 10:30 a.m. and traveled down Sumter Street to King Street before turning onto Calhoun Street with the parade ending near Calhoun Street and Elizabeth Street.