Long Beach’s annual celebration honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. will return this year with a parade and festivities in Central Long Beach Saturday.

The festivities have suffered a few set backs in previous years, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the parade and other celebrations into a two-year hiatus. When it returned again last year, parade-goers were met by heavy rains and the festival was canceled.

Evelyn Chea, 4, jumps as community organizations and performers march past during the 35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade on Saturday, January 14, 2023. Photo by Sarahi Apaez.

Forecasts predict the possibility of rain again this year during the celebration, though city officials did not say if that may affect the festivities in any way.

The 36th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade on Saturday, Jan. 13 will be held at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Anaheim Street, where it has been celebrated for decades. The celebration is free and attendees can expect to see several floats, brass bands, performers and community organizations to take part in honoring the beloved civil rights activist.

The parade will start at 10 a.m. and will move north toward Martin Luther King Jr. Park where, from noon to 5 p.m., the festivities will continue with live performances, food vendors, a kid’s zone, and music.

In addition, multiple people will be honored at the event with a Peace Maker Award, which awarded to member’s of the community who have best represented Dr. King’s legacy through their own work in Long Beach.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue will be closed from Seventh Street to Anaheim Street beginning at 5 a.m. and Anaheim Street to 19th Street at 9 a.m. to accommodate the parade route and staging areas, though some vehicles will be allowed to cross intermittently at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway, city officials said. All roads are expected to reopen by 1 p.m.

Martin Luther King Jr. Park is at 1950 Lemon Ave.