Dr. King Parade Inspires, Entertains Following Two-Year Pandemic


LEESBURG – The 2023 Dr. King Parade made a memorable comeback Saturday morning, January 21, after not being able to entertain the Leesburg community for at least two years due to the pandemic.

The annual event, sponsored by the Dr. Martin Luther King Commemoration Committee of Leesburg (MLKCC), extended its route to include the newly renovated Childs and Pine Streets area.

The colorful parade march showcased floats, Leesburg High School band and cheerleaders, Oak Park Middle School cheerleaders, an adorable Little Miss Leesburg and two gorgeous teenagers representing Miss Leesburg, United Boxing Club, a new entry, with Coach O sparing with one of his trainees, Corvettes and convertibles and other vintage cars owned by members of the Sophisticated Gents of Florida,  an intriguing Coretta and Martin King impersonators, Buffalo Soldiers on motorcycles, they don’t ride horses anymore, Eustis African American Heritage Club, The Villages Twirlers, the Deltas Sorority, the Kappas Fraternity, and our Leesburg Police and Lake County’s Sheriff Departments and more.

Following the Leesburg Police and Sheriff Departments, riding in fashionable hot convertible Corvettes, were our Grand Marshall, Ms. Mollie Cunningham from Lake County’s School Board, and Leesburg City Commissioner Allison Berry as Honorary Marshall.  Parade Judges Carolyn Samuel, Lillian Lockette, and Martha Mitchell had their work cut out for them trying to figure out who really “showed up and showed out” when parade participants stopped in front of the grandstand and performed.  Despite some minor hiccups, Pastor Reeves, the announcer, stayed on track.

The parade line-up is usually problematic and this year followed suit, but block captains, under the leadership of Donja Brown, were in control and made it work. Parade Committee Chairs Ralph and Edna Coleman and Iona Bowers did much to keep the parade flow moving.

“Wow!  My wife and I are very happy how the parade turned out,” said Ralph Coleman, Co-Chair of the Parade Committee.  “It was our first year chairing the Parade Committee and we felt all of us pulled off a great event that was diverse, entertaining and informative.  We thank the Parade Committee members and the entire MLKCC for their diligence in working together for a very successful 2023 Dr. King Parade.”

“The MLK parades of the past have been great ones. However, I must say that the MLK Parade for 2023 was really a depiction of Dr. King’s legacy because of the increased number of his images and sayings that were displayed on the cars, floats and the uniforms of the parade walkers”, said Ms. Carolyn Samuel, President of MLKCC.

“It made me believe that citizens are now beginning to believe more in his legacy and the love that he had for ALL people.”

Ms. Samuel also expressed her thanks to all of the parade participants, contributors, the MLKCC members, Lake Front TV, the Leesburg Partnership and the City of Leesburg.

“We’re so happy that the Dr. King parade is back”, said MLKCC member Georgette Ward.  “Spectators learned a lot about the various businesses and organizations in our community, and it was a lot of fun.”

A lot of positive feedback about this year’s parade inspired the MLKCC, and it’s looking forward to 2024, when it will again highlight the contributions of Dr. King, America’s greatest civil rights icon.