Long Beach ends MLK Day celebration early due to weather

The 35th Martin Luther King Jr. Parade was held in Long Beach Saturday after being canceled the previous two years because of the coronavirus pandemic, but a planned celebration after the parade was cut short due to weather conditions.

The parade stepped off at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Anaheim Street, then traveled north on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, concluding at 19th Street.

The city tweeted at 1:50 p.m. Saturday that the celebration was canceled, then later clarified that it had just ended early. The event had been scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 1950 Lemon Ave., but the Long Beach Post reported that the stage was too wet for performers.

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The parade was led by Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, the 2023 and 2022 grand marshals — assistant city manager Linda Tatum, City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis and the Long Beach Section National Council of Negro Women — who were denied the opportunity to participate in previous years.

Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson, who was elected in November as the city's first Black mayor, was the parade's honoree, according to Councilwoman Suely Saro. The parade was held in the Sixth District, which Saro represents.

Culver City was scheduled to hold a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at 2 p.m. Saturday at Veterans Memorial Auditorium with the theme "Freedom For All."

Rep. Sydney Kamlager, D-Los Angeles, state Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, D-Los Angeles, and Culver City Mayor Albert Vera were set to speak. Actor and motivational speaker Gerald Rivers will perform a collection of speeches by King based on the theme of "Freedom For All."

There will also be live musical performances.