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King for 3 Days: MLK Jr. Day Weekend Events Around Town

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By Ana Bustilloz/Special to LAist


Photo by Lushbunny via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
It's been 25 years since the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was commemorated in America. Now, it's not only a federal holiday, but also a day of community service. Don't fret if Monday isn't a work holiday for you, there's plenty to do this weekend. Whether you choose to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day of service or a day of leisure, here is a list of things to do. Start celebrating Saturday January 15th with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace & Unity Parade Celebration in Long Beach. Parade starts at 10:30 am along Martin Luther King Jr. Ave from 7th Street north to King Park. Festival with entertainment, food booths, craft, games and rides to follow from 12:30 to 5 pm.

Culver City hosts the 6th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Saturday at the Senior Center from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. hosted by celebrity guest Keith David. Refreshments, readings, music and screening of the documentary, "Freedom Riders."

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Gardena's 27th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Celebration is also on Saturday. The parade feature bands, drumlines, classic cars, drill teams, and celebrities. Parade begins at 10am.

Donate your time with the LA Conservation Corps on Saturday from 8am-3pm at the 28th Street Elementary School. Volunteers will help clean and prepare the garden area; build garden beds; clean, organize and paint storage containers; paint basketball backboards; clean kinder area; and plant, mulch and water trees and plants in various locations on campus.

Sunday January 16th at 3:30pm, The Santa Monica Symphony performs their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Concert at SGI Auditorium. Free.

Also on Sunday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at the California African American Museum. Live music and dance performances, plus screenings of Dr. King's speeches. Free. Come back on Monday for "Cake for King" to remember Dr. King's birthday.

On Monday January 17th, Los Angeles' main event, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Kingdom Day Parade, begins on Martin Luther King, Jr. and Western Ave. and travels west on MLK to Crenshaw Blvd. The parade begins at 11a.m. and ends with food and festivities in Leimert Park. California Attorney General, Kamala Harris is one of the parade's Grand Marshals. Here is a map [.pdf] of the parade route; you can also watch it live on ABC7.

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Enjoy a free day at LACMA on Monday from 12pm-8pm. Live performance by jazz group the Pan Afrikan People's Arkestra.

The Autry Museum is also free on Monday.

L.A. Works' Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is Monday from 9am - 1pm. Volunteers, community leaders and corporate sponsors will devote a day of service by transforming and revitalizing Rosemont Elementary School in Echo Park. Activities will include painting murals, touching up paint, constructing planter benches and rehabilitating a school garden. Volunteers must register online prior to event.

Take your green thumb to Pasadena for the Arlington Garden's day of service (volunteers may help maintain the garden on Monday or Saturday).

Still looking for inspiration? Go to and enter your zipcode to see a list of community service opportunities.