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Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade Draws 300,000 Spectators to Midtown

The MLK Grande, now the nation’s third-largest parade, featured marching bands, drill teams, and cultural groups from all over Houston.

Houston celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the annual MLK Grande Parade in Midtown. The event, now in its twenty-second year, is the third-largest parade in the country, after Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

“It’s just a continual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, because he was very instrumental in pulling us together,” says Constable May Walker of Harris County’s Precinct 7, who has attended every MLK Grande Parade since its founding. “And as you can notice, this parade consists of all kinds of people, all kinds of bands.”

The parade got underway led by several ranks of Air Force, Army, and Navy junior ROTC cadets. Groups marching in the parade represented schools from all over Houston, as well as cultural groups, such as Houston’s Foundation for India Studies. The latter featured a man dressed as Mahatma Gandhi. That was an especially welcome sight for Efina Henry, a recent immigrant from Kerala, India.

“It’s really good to see Mahatma Gandhi and how Martin Luther King was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, especially coming to a different country, seeing our father of the nation being represented here,” Henry said.

Organizers estimate the attendance at this year’s parade at roughly 300,000 spectators.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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