This year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration reflects the hope of a new decade, an organizer says.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center hosts several celebrations Monday. They include a 7 a.m. breakfast, a 9 a.m. worship service, a noon parade and a parade after-party.
Executive Director Derrick Reed said the theme for this year's celebration is "Endured the Past, Embracing the Present, Empowering our Future."
"We're at a new decade," Reed said, adding that the theme means "taking all the best of past years and generations and using them to empower our future."
Former Muskogee City Council member and deputy mayor Robert Perkins will be the parade's grand marshal.
"He has served the community for over 20 years," Reed said. "He was also instrumental in presenting, for decades, the Paul Young Football League, giving young men an opportunity to get involved in football from elementary through high school. He also is retired from Oklahoma Natural Gas."
Reed said the parade will feature the Muskogee High School band, plus a large representation of churches and other groups.
"This year, we have a marching drill unit out of Oklahoma City, a dance group called High Rollers," he said. "They'll also perform at the after-party."
Also, expect a steady flow of classic cars and trucks in the parade and at a post-parade car show.
Car show coordinator Lester Beasley said he expects 15 to 25 vehicles in the parade. Many will be displayed at the community center as part of the car show.
"Mainly the classic cars from the 1950s, and some of the '60s," he said. "Sometimes, depending on the weather, we have different types of motorcycles."
Beasley said organizers are working to include more pickups this year.
"They can be late model, antique or any type of truck," he said, adding that he often drives his 1950 Chevrolet pickup in the parade.
"It's been refurbished totally," he said. "The only thing original is the body. All the mechanics are updated. It's actually a 1973 Nova, everything in it is from a 1973 Chevy Nova."
Beasley said he has been involved with the MLK parade for about 12 years.
The car show will offer prizes for different categories, as well as a Best in Show trophy.
Reed said the after-party will feature a Kids' Zone featuring free hot dogs and inflatable toys. There also will be food trucks, clothing vendors and informational booths from area organizations. Chuck Hoskins, recently elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, will participate in the after-party, Reed said.
Dr Martin Luther King Jr. festivities
• 7-11 a.m., DREAM TEAM Pancake Breakfast. Cost is free, donations encouraged.
• 9-10 a.m., MLK Day Worship Service.
• 11 a.m., Parade Line-up on 12th Street, the parade participation form is available at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 300 W. Martin Luther King St.
• Noon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade begins, with a car show following.
• 1-3 p.m., Parade after-party with food trucks, live music and vendor booths.