Martin Luther King Jr. Grand Parade

MLK Parade

22 years ago, a parade to celebrate and commemorate the legacy and message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began in Houston. Seven years later, in this same spirit, a new tradition was added on to the parade – a battle of marching bands. Five years after that began the tradition of a parade just for youth participation. Today, these traditions take up an entire weekend, with the Martin Luther King Jr. Grand Parade as the crown jewel.


The weekend begins Saturday, with the 10th Annual MLK Youth Parade. This parade features musicians from around the country who are lead by The Stephen F. Austin High School Marching Band-Houston, Texas, floats, over 100 performance groups, special dignitaries and community organizations. The MLK Youth Parade is produced to promote racial and cultural harmony. The parade steps off in Mid-Town at San Jacinto & Elgin N/B.


On Sunday afternoon, Rice Stadium becomes the battleground for over 20 nationally acclaimed high school marching bands, to determine who takes home bragging rights for the best overall performance. Categories include small, medium, large sized bands, and a middle school category. Among them will be the best high school marching bands from Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, as well as Texas. The music and the stepping cannot be beat.


The festivities culminate on Monday with the largest single day multicultural activity in the US, in honor of Dr. King, to promote racial and cultural appreciation and in keeping with his doctrines of inclusion and oneness. The parade is marked by professionally designed floats, over 30 marching bands, more than 150 performing groups and a host of dignitaries and community leaders. The televised parade attracts upwards of 300,000 spectators lining the streets of Houston and hundreds of thousands more watching from home. The parade follows the same route as Saturday’s Youth Parade.


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