ELIZABETHTOWN —The 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade through the downtown business district of Elizabethtown brought a huge crowd on Monday, despite a chilly day being presented by Mother Nature.
The day was clear, sunny but breezy, and temperatures hovered around the 40-degree mark.
Onlookers of all ages — many bundled up with jackets and blankets — braved the cold as they turned out to celebrate the event.
The parade, which was about 75 minutes long, consisted of 107 entries, including numerous church groups; fire, police and rescue vehicles; politicians; businesses; horses; a large group of motorcycles and four-wheelers; and civic groups; as well as performances by West Bladen’s Color Guard and JROTC, East Bladen’s Steppers and cheerleaders, and an impressive turnout by the Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy Cadets.
“It’s nice that we can all come together and enjoy an event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” said Tekesha Johnson, who has been attending the parade since it began and added that it appears to grow larger every year.
Many of the entrants, to the delight of the children lining the street, tossed a variety of candy along the parade route.
N.C. House Rep. Garland Pierce, who served as the grand marshal of the parade, said he appreciates that the parade “gets people aware of the contributions of Dr. King. And there was a tremendous crowd, which is impressive for Elizabethtown and Bladen County.
“But it’s also disappointing that Melvin’s isn’t open,” he added. “Several of us were hoping to stop in there.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.