Orlando’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day events will not include parade due to COVID-19

Events this year are mix of in-person, virtual

ORLANDO, Fla. – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events are returning to Orlando in January, but organizers said on Saturday, Jan. 8, that the annual parade through the city’s downtown area will be canceled due to concerns over COVID-19.

Last year, many of the annual events planned to honor the civil rights leader were either virtual or curtailed. Instead of a full marching parade, the city held a parade showcase for bands and other acts in front of Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center.

[TRENDING: Can Fla. drivers legally move into intersection while waiting to make a turn? | Florida reports over 125K new COVID cases in one week | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

This year, the MLK Day events will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9 with a candlelight vigil and march from Orlando City Hall to the First United Methodist Church of Orlando for an interfaith multicultural celebration.

Other events include a virtual Leadership Forum on Thursday, along with a commemorative virtual luncheon on Friday.

With another traditional parade now canceled, the parade showcase will make its return, this time in “holiday” form. From 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15, the Southwest Orlando Jaycees and the Orlando Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission will bring together food, dance, comedy, live music, artistic expression and community in front of the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center. Admission is free, and refunds from the original, canceled event will be processed, organizers said.

Then on Monday, Jan. 17 the 31st annual Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy prayer breakfast will take place at First Baptist Church of Orlando. The breakfast honors Dr. King as well as Kennedy, Orlando’s first African-American city council member.

There will also be Day of Service events.

A full list of events by the Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission are listed below. Other events around Central Florida can be found on the city of Orlando website.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

  • 5:30 p.m. - Candlelight Vigil and March Orlando City Hall Rotunda, 400 South Orange Avenue The Candlelight Vigil program begins at Orlando City Hall and participants will march to First United Methodist Church of Orlando.
  • 6:30 p.m. - Interfaith Multicultural Celebration First United Methodist Church of Orlando, 142 East Jackson Street Following the Candlelight Vigil is the Interfaith Multicultural Celebration presented by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, with guest speaker Florida House Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith. The celebration’s theme is “The Simple Art of Living Together” and includes representation from various faith traditions.

Monday, January 10, 2022

  • 2 p.m. - Orlando City Council Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Presentation City Hall, Council Chambers, 2nd floor, 400 South Orange Avenue Mayor Dyer and the City Commissioners will proclaim Jan. 9-17, 2022, as “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Week” in the City of Orlando.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

  • 7 p.m. - 18th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Forum Virtual Event During this virtual interactive moderated event, presented by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, participants can listen and interact with panelists on the topic of “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Event Registration: mlkluncheon.org

Friday, January 14, 2022

  • 12 p.m. - 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Luncheon Virtual Event This virtual luncheon, presented by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, begins with keynote speaker, Alpha Phi Alpha Brother Roland S. Martin, a nationally acclaimed journalist, author, television host, and managing editor of #RolandMartinUnfiltered. Following the keynote, the event continues by honoring students, community leaders, and organizations and a presentation of the prestigious scholarship Drum Major Award in Scholastic Achievement, Civic Affairs, Social Justice, Community Service, and Business. Event Registration: mlkluncheon.org

Saturday, January 15, 2022

  • 11 a.m.-2 p.m. - Downtown Orlando Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Parade Showcase Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Join the Southwest Orlando Jaycees for an exciting event that will feature dance, comedy, community organizations, drumlines, music, artistic expression and more. For more information, please contact: swojuniorchamber@gmail.com

Monday, January 17, 2022

  • 7:30 a.m. - Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy 31st Annual Prayer Breakfast First Baptist Church, 3000 South John Young Parkway Presented virtually by the Southwest Orlando Jaycees and the Central Florida YMCA, the annual Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast will commemorate the legacies of civil rights pioneers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy, Orlando’s first African American City Council Member. This year’s guest speaker will be Dr. Vikki Johnson, a granddaughter of Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy. Held each year on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for nearly three decades, this prayer breakfast traditionally brings together more than 1,000 civic leaders, pastors and Central Florida neighbors in faith, prayer and the shared commitment to strengthen the community and improve lives. Event Registration: https://ymcacf.org/community/y-events/prayerbreakfast/
  • 9 a.m. - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission’s Great Day of Service 4724 Raleigh Street Join the Orlando Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission to clean up Lake Fran and surrounding area trails that lead to the Carver Shores neighborhood. Due to limited event space, event registration is required at volunteer.orlando.gov/custom/501/opp_details/2671
  • 9 a.m. - Seedlings for Civil Rights Eagle Nest Park, 5165 Metrowest Boulevard During the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, the City of Orlando’s Green Up and Keep Orlando Beautiful programs have coordinated efforts to beautify Eagle Nest Park. Volunteers will plant, mulch and remove litter and debris. Event Registration: volunteer.orlando.gov/custom/501/opp_details/2661

About the Author:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.