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Plant City festival honors King's dream, Obama's oath

PLANT CITY — There will be another reason to celebrate at Plant City's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Arts Festival this year.

Event planners expect a higher turnout at the 23rd annual festival, as locals kick off a long weekend celebrating the late civil rights leader's dream and President-elect Obama's inauguration.

Although the festival's "Champion of a Dream" theme was picked before voters chose Obama as the nation's 44th president, it's even more appropriate now, said planner William Thomas Jr.

The festival begins tonight with the popular step-dance competition, which draws teams throughout the state.

Events will quiet down Monday so people can travel to Washington, D.C., or make plans to gather with family and friends to watch Obama's inauguration, Thomas said.

"Tuesday is the big day," he said. "This year you'll notice that the activities slow down on Monday."

He also said Plant City planners are coordinating with Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in Tampa and St. Petersburg, making sure none of their major events take place at the same time. Thomas hopes people attend events across Tampa Bay, including the MLK Drum Major for Justice Parade at 1:15 p.m. Monday in downtown St. Petersburg.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2443.

if you go

Big celebration

What: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Arts Festival in Plant City

When: Friday through Monday

Where: Most events will be at the Plant City MLK Recreation Center, at 1601 E Martin Luther King Blvd.

Cost: Many events are free, but some activities have a fee. Admission to the step-team competition is $8.

For more information, visit www.plantcitymlkfestival.com.

Plant City festival honors King's dream, Obama's oath 01/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 15, 2009 3:30am]
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