Next week people all over America will be celebrating just how far we’ve come as a nation. Yes, it’s a 3-day weekend honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday (actual date is Jan. 15th) on Monday, January 21st. More than just a day off, this Monday is day to honor a true American hero through service to others and celebrate progress by acknowledging the past. Here in historic Bluffton, there is a 29-year tradition of both celebratory and reflective events honoring the civil rights leader’s legacy of equality, peace, and community service.
Anne Cooke, MLK Observance Committee Acting President says, “Our events actually begin on Saturday the 19th with the Memorial Banquet at Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church. Alan Dunson will be the featured speaker and we will have entertainment by the Boys & Girl’s Club, Bible Baptist Church, as well as door prizes.“
On Monday the 21st, festivities begin with a 1 p.m. Memorial Service at the Bluffton Town Hall Auditorium with the parade to follow at 2 pm. The organizers encourage anyone and everyone to participate in the walk, not just stand by and observe. Past parades have reached upwards of 200 participants and so far about 15 floats have signed up as well. While everyone is invited to join in the walk “freestyle”, if group who would like to perform,
or enter a float or vehicle, please contact the Committee in advance.
Parade performers include the High School ROTC, Red Cedar elementary school band, League of Women Voters and several area churches. The parade route begins and ends at Bluffton Town Hall, following past routes, along Prichard Street to the May River Road to Thomas Heyward Street and then back to Bridge Street. There will be a cookout immediately following the parade with hamburgers, hot dogs, and baked chicken and although donations are graciously accepted, the cookout is free of charge.
The Bluffton MLK Day Parade is a family affair too, with grandparents who participated in the first parades as teenagers and young adults now walking with their own grandchildren. This year’s theme “The Dream…Becoming Reality” certainly speaks to the growth of our Bluffton community, especially in a sincerely mindful way. As Ms. Cooke added, “It’s a celebratory time that includes fellowship AND reflection.
The Observance Committee will have a day of service event on Saturday, Feb. 9 to benefit the Buck Island Cemetery on May River Road as well as an additional day of service for the Bluffton Community Center on Goethe Road sometime later this spring. Community service projects and volunteering are the cornerstones of the M.L. King legacy and a fitting way to honor the memory of one of the most revered men in the 20th century.
- Memorial Banquet. Jan. 19, 2013 at 6pm. Tickets are $30 per adult.
- Memorial Service: Jan 21 at 1 pm at Bluffton Town Hall
- Parade: January 21 at 2 pm followed by the cookout. If your group would like to perform or enter a float in the parade, please contact Anne Cooke at 843-757-3417.