In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a full slate of events are being held in Tifton for the public to join together in celebrating and honoring a heroic leader.
Beginning this week, the 2013 City of Tifton and the Tift County Governmental Official Opening of MLK Holiday will take place from 11 a.m. to noon Friday at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center on Second Street. Local governmental bodies will recognize and honor the life and legacy of Dr. King.
The following is a schedule of events for Saturday through Monday:
• One Street At A Time clean-up is from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. Each year, this project is headed up by Tift County Commissioner Melissa Chevers. She said this year’s clean-up will take place in the 500 block of 23rd Street West (where the old Beulah Hill Baptist Church used to be located). She noted that if enough volunteers come out, they will branch off into the area of Captain’s Point Mobile Home Park. She’s asking for all volunteers and donations of bags, water and gloves. For more information, contact Chevers at 326-0241.
• The first annual Spirit of Greatness Awards Gala will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center. This public event is being held to identify and honor leaders and shapers in the field of human relations and interaction. The 2013 awardees are: Tifton Mayor Jamie Cater; former City Councilman Roosevelt Russell; eighth grade teacher and local associate minister Isaac Ross; the public relations and marketing director for Moultrie Technical College, Jana Wiggins; and former Meals on Wheels Director Marion Culpepper Whiddon. The attire will be semi-formal. There will be live music provided by a local jazz band. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by families of honorees or by calling 326-4396. Will-call tickets are also available.
• A King Concert: “A Musical Celebration to the Life and Legacy of Dr. King” will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday at Tift Avenue Church of God on Tift Avenue. Professional voices and instrumentalists will sing repertoire of peace, unity and love — morals and ideals lived and preached by Dr. King. Also, spoken words from Dr. King will be read by local ministers.
• Monday’s events will consist of the annual MLK Breakfast, sponsored by PLIGHT, Inc., at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center. Tickets are $10 with kids five and under admitted free. Tickets must be purchased in advance; there will be no tickets sold at the door. Participants are asked to bring a non-perishable item to help restock the Tiftarea Soup Kitchen and Food Bank. This year’s speaker for the occasion is the Rev. Patrick Ford. “Please come and enjoy a delicious breakfast and hear a dynamic speaker,” says Fran Kinchen, director of the Leroy Rogers Senior Center. For tickets, contact Kinchen at 391-9299 or any PLIGHT member.
A commemorative service honoring the life and legacy of Dr. King will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Greater Springfield Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, across from J.T. Reddick Elementary School. Local community leaders, ministers, choirs, musicals and activists will gather to pay tribute, in an ecumenical service, to Dr. King.
The annual MLK March and Parade, presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), will begin at noon Monday at the corner of South Central Avenue and 17th Street and will end at the courthouse on Second Street; parade and march line up begins at 10:30 a.m. An assembly at the courthouse will immediately follow. There will also be a parade contest — the best poster, banner or dressed car will win $100. There is no fee to participate. Following the march and parade will be a festival from 1 to 3 p.m. at Mott-Litman gym. Fun activities will include basketball, MLK trivia, games, free food and prizes.
To join NAACP, e-mail TiftTiftonNaacp@gmail.com or call 392-6335.
To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.