On both sides of Tampa Bay, residents celebrate life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Across the nation, events honoring the civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., are being held, including in the Tampa Bay region.

After a year of putting many MLK Day celebrations on hold due to the pandemic, the Bay Area is going big to celebrate and remember him. From Tampa to St. Petersburg, cities on both sides of the bridge are pulling out all the stops to honor the civil rights leader and all he did.

And that means for the first time since 2020, the MLK Day parade in Tampa will be making its return. Back in 2020, it was the biggest MLK Day celebration the city has seen – but this year they’re planning for it to be even bigger.

Titus O’Neil will serve as the Grand Marshall with the parade hosting all different types of floats. There will be marching bands from across the area – even equestrian groups. There's a little bit of fun for everybody involved. That’s going to kick off at noon Monday at Cuscaden Park, ending near Middleton High School.

READ: 200 Tampa volunteers honor legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by sprucing up the university area

Over in St. Pete, the celebrations got underway over the weekend, wrapping up today with the nation's longest-running parade celebrating Dr. King.

"The key to all of this is, Dr. King advocated 365 days a year. Sadly, we acknowledge his birthday on one day, but I think as we grow, expand and build the awareness., three days is fantastic," said Esther Matthews, president of NAACP St. Petersburg, "but I look forward to a whole month or more of celebratory activities." 

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Over the weekend, the city hosted an MLK Music Festival, along with a band showcase. Today’s Dream Big Parade will feature bands from Talladega College, Tuskegee University, Texas Southern University and Booker T. Washington High School. 

So, no matter what side of the bridge you’re on, there's going to be a celebration as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's impacts are still being felt to this day here in the Bay Area