Rep. Alan Lowenthal (copy)

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) waves from his float during the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace and Unity Parade.

—Gazette file photo

There will be marching and partying for a purpose this weekend with the 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Celebration.

The free events — themed "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" — kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Anaheim Street, with the parade. About 80 entrants will march north on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, turn east onto 19th Street and continue north on Lemon Avenue.

This year's grand marshals are Reagan Romali, John Barnett Rambo, Peter Kong, Chris Fontayne Herron, Mr. Baker's Style Center and Stephen Harris. 

After the parade is the celebration, from noon to 6 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 1950 Lemon Ave. More than 30 food trucks, information and merchandise vendors will be on hand at the party. The headlining performances include Long Beach-based band Kiddo, with other musical, dance and drum performers, as well as artists, whose visions align with King's voice for peace, justice and civil rights, according to a release. 

Thousands of attendees are expected for both the parade and celebration, organizers said.

Sixth District City Councilman Dee Andrews and the Department of Parks, Recreation & Marine are partnering for the daylong festivities meant to commemorate King. 

“Being an activist for equal rights and peace, this is a special event for me," Andrews said in a statement. "Being a believer in the human spirit, it is celebrations like this that unite all races. The human spirit has no color and this is the perfect venue to demonstrate that we are beyond color boundaries."

Free parking is available at Long Beach City College's Pacific Coast campus, on the corner of Orange Avenue and 19th Street. A free shuttle service will take attendees to and from the events. 

Volunteers are being accepted and can register by calling (562) 570-6816. Duties include parade route monitoring, celebration set-up hel, and clean-up. 

For more information, visit

Emily Thornton can be reached at

Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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