MThe esa will celebrate Martin Luther King Day tomorrow, January 17, with the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. East Valley Parade, themed this year “Tomorrow is Today.”
The parade will start at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Center Street and MLK Way and will proceed south on Center Street to First Street, then west on First Street to Robson.
The parade includes marching bands, local organizations, community leaders, elected officials, the Mesa Police Department, and the Mesa Fire and Medical Department.
After the parade, a community festival from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Main and Macdonald Streets will feature food, vendors and children’s activities.
People attending the festival are encouraged to donate school supplies and students for Step Up Schools in the donation bins at the event. Step Up Charter School is housed in the Washington Park Activity Center in Mesa and exists primarily for children in need.
Two downtown museums will also offer half-price admission: The Arizona Museum of Natural History will open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. while the Idea Museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Residents around the parade route or those participating in the festivities should plan for the following street closures from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. along Center Street between University Drive and 1st Street, MLK Jr. Way/3rd Place from Centennial Way to Drew Street, Centennial Hall Parking Lot at Drew Street, Robson at Country Club and between 1st and 2nd Street, 1st Street between Centennial Way and Country Club, Macdonald between 1st and Main Street, Morris and Pepper Place at Macdonald.
Most streets are expected to reopen at 2 p.m. Macdonald, which will be closed between 1st Street and Main Street for the festival, will reopen at 7 p.m. Traffic may detour around the parade route using Main Street, Mesa Drive, Country Club Drive and University Drive.
Mesa’s annual MLK celebrations were created after residents, in 1996, voted to establish a citywide celebration recognizing Dr. King’s leadership. This year’s events are the result of a partnership between the City of Mesa and the Mesa-East Valley MLK Committee.
For more information on MLK celebrations, visit mesaaz.gov/mlkparade.