MLK festival includes faith, inspiration, entertainment
PLANT CITY - If you go Friday 11:30 a.m.: Opening ceremony, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, 1601 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.4-11 p.m.: Carnival midway and food vendors, recreation center grounds. 6:30 p.m.: Step show, Marshall Middle School, 18 S. Maryland Ave.; $10 admission. Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.: Carnival midway and food vendors open, recreation center grounds. 1 p.m.: Parade along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from downtown to recreation center. 2:30 p.m.: Concerts, recreation center. 4:30 p.m.: Gospel extravaganza, recreation center. Sunday 7:30 a.m.: Leadership breakfast, John R. Trinkle Center, Hillsborough Community College campus; $25 per person. Monday 10 a.m.: Freedom Walk, Samuel W. Cooper Park, 900 E. Dr. MLK Blvd. 10:30 a.m.: Tours of Bing Rooming House Museum, 205 S. Allen St. The focus will be on faith as the 26th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Festival opens its four-day run on Friday. The celebration will have its share of entertainment, such as a carnival midway and a step show. But the organizers want to keep faith at the forefront. "We're going back to the legacy of Dr. King, which was using faith in everything you do," said William Thomas Jr., vice president of the festival sponsor, the Improvement League of Plant City. King, who was killed by an assassin in 1968, was a Baptist preacher who rose to fame as a crusader for civil rights. This year's theme is "Faith: the Foundation of the Dream." Faith will be woven throughout the celebration, Thomas said. The opening ceremony will feature the Rev. Shaffren Scott and the keynote speaker at Sunday's $25 per-person leadership breakfast will be Joe Nathan Halman Jr., senior pastor and founder of Greater Works Ministries of Winter Haven and a division commander with the Polk County Sheriff's Office. The Gospel Extravaganza, a staple of the festival, will be 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, 1601 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The emphasis on religious principles helps celebrate the ministry of King, Thomas said. "Sometimes you have to bring it back home to the basics where it needs to be," Thomas said. Other festival highlights include: For information, call (813) 757-6760 or go to www.plantcitymlkfestival .com.
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