To commemorate the birthday of civil-rights pioneer Martin Luther King Jr., committees in Fort Worth and Arlington have events planned for the long weekend coming up.
In Arlington, the MLK Celebration Committee — headed by Lemuel Randolph — has announced a four-day agenda of events. Assisting Randolph, who heads the city parks department, with organizing the festivities are Cheryel Carpenter and Sharon Jones.
“We invite the public to participate in the largest Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Texas that is produced by a single committee,” Randolph said. “The 27th year of this celebration will incorporate the collective vision of the city of Arlington, UT Arlington, AISD, TCC and the Arlington Ministerial Association. It takes place over four days and offers activities and events in all areas of the city and for all ages.”
On Friday, the Advancing the Dream Awards Banquet will kick off the four-day celebration in the Bluebonnet Ballroom at UTA. Guests will enjoy dinner and entertainment along with the presentation of scholarships and the announcement of the MLK art and essay contest winners.
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Other special presentations will include naming individuals or groups receiving awards in education, government and community service. Keynote speaker is Gary Smith, the lead pastor at Fielder Church.
In charge of the banquet is Lisa Thompson, who said that Christian artist Lance Brown has been commissioned to do a painting during the banquet. “Lance Brown will complete a large-scale canvas painting of Dr. King’s dream in less than 20 minutes right in front of a live audience. Each canvas tells a story of hope, love and inspiration.”
The painting will be sold in a live auction in addition to a series of black heritage postal stamps. The proceeds will benefit Arlington MLK programs and scholarships, Thompson said.
Banquet tickets are $45 and can be purchased online at www.UTATickets.com.
On Saturday, a step-show competition is planned at 11 a.m. at Bowie High School. Tickets are $10 each and $5 for elementary students and children under age 5. Then at 3:30 p.m. at Tarrant County College, a multicultural festival is planned. Admission is free. Saturday wraps up with the Evening of Spoken Word poetry contest at 7 p.m. in the Bluebonnet Ballroom. Admission is $20 per person.
On Sunday, the MLK Hubert Moss Ecumenical service featuring Evelyn Parker, dean of theology at Southern Methodist University, is at 6 p.m. at Most Blessed Sacrament Church, 2100 N. Davis Drive.
On Monday, hundreds of volunteers will head out to complete community projects for the MLK Day of Service. And new this year is the MLK Festival, planned from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion, where guests will enjoy live performances, art, food trucks and other fun activities.
The celebration concludes with the Youth Musical Extravaganza at Fielder Church, 1523 W. Pioneer Parkway. See additional details at www.MLKArlington.com.
Fort Worth will come alive Monday with a parade and march hosted by the Greater Fort Worth Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Committee. The annual holiday celebration will offer exciting activities and events to commemorate King and his legacy.
“During these turbulent times, as we begin the year and focus on the events of last year, what better way to move towards a better year than to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King?” said Tyron Lane, who is heading up the events. “As we deal with gun violence, gun laws, crime rates and various shootings, it shines an even greater light on the need to embrace the principles of Dr. King as it relates to dealing with adversity, confusion and disagreement.”
“We hope that the celebrational events put on by the Greater Fort Worth Martin Luther King Holiday Committee will help us all move forward to action while embracing the rights of every one individual,” Lane added.
The parade/march will step off at 11 a.m. beginning at the Fort Worth Convention Center (east side at 12th and Commerce streets). The route winds north on Commerce to Belknap Street, then heads west on Belknap to Houston Street before turning south on Houston to end at Sundance Square Plaza.
Local organizations, nonprofits, church and civic groups are invited to participate by completing an entry form in advance online or on site the day of the event. Parade entry fee is $5 for preregistration and $10 for on-site registration.
A rally at the end of the parade and march will feature high school bands and performers. For information, contact Tyron Lane, pastor at New Creation Church, at 817-355-4831. Learn more at www.gfwmlkjrhc.info.
Events at a glance
▪ Symphony Arlington concert is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Arlington Music Hall. The show will feature clarinetist Brent Buemi performing Copland’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra as well as Korean guest conductor Jin Hyoun Baek. Make reservations at www.SymphonyArlington.org or call 817-385-0484.
▪ Colleyville Chamber of Commerce 40th annual Awards Luncheon is Jan. 21 at Piazza in the Village. The event will celebrate the work that the chamber and its members have done in the Colleyville community since 1976. Awards for citizen, business, member, youth and volunteer of the year will be presented as well as awards for outstanding service organization and leadership. Tickets are $50 each. Reserve at www.ColleyvilleChamber.org.