It is not too late to enter Monday’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in Brunswick.
In fact, folks have all week to think about their entry’s theme for the popular annual parade through the city. Then the only thing left to do is show up beginning at 8 a.m. at the parade’s starting point at Howard Coffin Park, said Ashleigh Lee, one of the event organizers.
Entries will be placed in the parade line in the order in which they arrive, she said. Though there is no entry fee, all participating groups are asked to make a donation to offset the costs of putting on the parade.
“This year, it’s going to be first-come, first-served,” Lee said. “When you get down to the park, we will line you up in the order in which you arrived. And we encourage those participating to remember, the time to start coming to Howard Coffin Park is 8 o’clock Because the pull-off time is 10:30.”
New participation rules are partly a concession to challenges parade organizers have struggled with because of COVID-19, Lee said. Participants are asked to wear masks during the parade, Lee said.
In past years, the entry deadline is in early January, nearly three weeks before the parade occurs each Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Organizers wanted to make it easier for folks to get involved this year, Lee said.
Organizers canceled the annual post-parade rally in the Selden Park gymnasium due to the social distancing limitations on an indoor location.
But the notion of canceling the parade honoring America’s great civil rights leader was not an option, Lee said.
“We want everyone who wants to participate to participate,” said Lee, who has served as the event’s secretary for the past eight years. “We’re just going to have a parade and that is it. Since we know the people look forward to it every year, we didn’t want to cancel it.”
The King parade attracts an array of entries every year, from college groups, marching bands from local schools, dance groups, fraternity and sorority alumni chapters, families and even groups from the YMCA, Lee said.
The parade will take its same route: leaving Howard Coffin Park from Lanier Boulevard and turning onto Gloucester Street; right on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevar; left on G Street; right onto Albany Street; then down Albany to its final destination at Risley Middle School.
“Whenever someone attends or participates, we see that as a learning experience about Dr. King and about Black history,” Lee said. “We don’t always know exactly what people may take from it. But it’s pretty cool and amazing to see people so inspired, and to see them do different things to bring out their creativity to participate in this parade every year.”