Mesa Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with Parade and Festival

~ Mesa, AZ - On Monday, January 15th, the city of Mesa and its residents came together to honor the leadership and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The day of remembrance, known as MLK Day, began with the Mesa-East Valley Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade at 11 a.m. in downtown Mesa. The parade was followed by a community festival at the Plaza at Mesa City Center from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

This year's celebration theme was "Transforming Communities: Building Bridges Together," which paid tribute to Dr. King's legacy by promoting unity, equality, and community transformation.

The parade, presented by Amazon, is Arizona's only MLK Parade and started at the intersection of Center Street and MLK Way. It then traveled south on Center Street to First Street before ending at Hibbert Street. The parade featured marching bands, faith-based organizations, local groups, community leaders, elected officials, and various City of Mesa departments in order to create a festive and inclusive event for all.

The grand marshal for this year's parade was a group of Mesa youth, program managers, and officials who represented Mesa's selection as an All-America City in 2023.

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After the parade concluded, the Mesa-East Valley MLK Festival took place from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The Plaza at Mesa City Center on Main Street. The festival offered food vendors, live music and entertainment, interactive line dancing, and a Kids Unity Corner with activities and crafts.

In addition to the parade and festival, two downtown museums offered half-price admission on MLK Day - the Arizona Museum of Natural History from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the i.d.e.a Museum from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Residents living near the parade route or those planning to attend the festivities were advised to plan accordingly for street closures. The following streets were closed from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.: First Street from Center Street to Mesa Drive, Centennial Way from Pepper Place to First Street, Pasadena at First Street, Hibbert from Pepper Place to First Street, Hibbert from Second Street to Third Place, Wilbur at First Street, and Pomeroy from Pepper Place to First Street.

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., the following streets were closed: Center Street from University Drive to Pepper Place, Third Place from Center Street to Drew Street, MLK Way from Center Street to Centennial Way, and Second Street at Center Street.

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Pepper Place was also closed between Center Street and Centennial Way for the festival area and remained closed until 7 p.m. The parade route reopened by 2 p.m., with adjacent streets reopening as traffic control was removed. Detours were available using Main Street, Mesa Drive, Country Club Drive, and University Drive.

Valley Metro bus and light rail services operated on a weekday schedule. In support of the Mesa-East Valley Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, the Downtown Buzz and Route 112 did not serve the stop at Main Street and Centennial Way. Additionally, the Downtown Buzz did not serve Center Street between Pepper Place and University Drive from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. on January 15th.

The MLK events were hosted and presented by the City of Mesa and the Mesa-East Valley MLK Committee with sponsorship from Visit Mesa and Amazon. These annual celebrations were established in 1996 after residents voted for a citywide holiday recognizing Dr. King's leadership.

For more information on the MLK celebrations in Mesa, visit the Mesa-East Valley MLK website.

Filed Under: Government, City

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