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Festivities Celebrating The Life Of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Jazz Festival & Parade - City News Blog

LAKELAND, FL (January 5, 2023) | The 2023 festivities honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Junior include a jazz festival that starts Friday, January 20th, and the MLK Parade on Saturday, January 21st.


The Swan City Jazz Festival is a FREE event that will take place January 20-21 at Munn Park from 3 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. each evening. The event is free so bring a lawn chair, a blanket and be prepared to hear wonderful jazz under the stars. For additional information go to: www.swancityjazzfestival.com.  The 2023 lineup includes two amazing headliners as well as local jazz ensembles.


Friday, January 20th                                                         Saturday, January 21st

Mulberry Jazz Ensemble                                                  LHS Jazz Band

Harrison School of the Arts Jazz Orchestra                Lakeland Anchor & Swan City Quartet

Winter Haven Jazz Messengers                                     Swan City Jazz Project

All County Jazz Band                                                        Robbs Trio

Let’s Ride Jazz Band                                                         The Franchise Players

Paula Atherton                                                                  Jazmin Ghent


One of the event organizers, Lynne Simpkins said, “This event has continued to grow steadily each year and now we have a multi-day jazz festival. We believe cultural experiences such as this will continue to honor the legacy of Dr. King by helping to shape the look and feel of our community.  We are very blessed this year to have an awesome line-up that includes two amazing female saxophonists as headliners for each night.” 


The MLK Parade features over 100 participants and it takes place on Saturday, January 21st with a 1 p.m. start time. The parade route will start on Providence Road at the 14th Street intersection. The parade will travel Providence Road and then turn east on 10th Street before heading south on MLK Avenue.  The parade will include professional floats, step/dance teams, walkers, decorated vehicles, car clubs, and marching bands. The theme for this year’s parade is “Our History is Our Future – Protect It and Preserve It”.  This year's parade will feature a senior citizen's seating section and a vendor/exhibitor area at 10th and MLK where the judging will take place. Volunteers will be along the entire route to assist with safety and distribution of information.  Simpkins said, “The Grand Marshal for this year’s parade is Willie Horton, retired Detroit Tiger Player who started with that organization in 1963. He has a storied professional baseball career spanning 18-years, and he is famous for standing in his Detroit Tigers uniform during a 1967 race riot pleading for peace. This will be legendary Lakeland High School football coach, Bill Castle's first community appearance since his retirement announcement and after recently winning an eighth state championship.” Those participating in the parade can pick-up their information packets on Tuesday, January 17th at 6:30 p.m. at the Coleman Bush Building (1104 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue).  The community is encouraged to attend the MLK Parade and celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Dr. King maintained a vision for a more diverse America where all enjoyed the benefits of equality.





Kevin Cook
Director of Communications
City of Lakeland

About Lakeland

The City of Lakeland was incorporated in January 1885 and has grown to become one of the largest inland communities in Florida.  With a current population of over 100,000 Lakeland continues to grow. It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years.  With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor.  The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 115 years ago. 

For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please visit www.lakelandgov.net.  Citizens are also invited to follow the City on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Snapchat and Nextdoor.  Citizens can find the City of Lakeland on these social media platforms by searching lakelandgov. 



For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please explore LakelandGov.net.
Citizens are also invited to follow the City on social media.