Every year area churches, organizations and families come together for a community tradition to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade will begin at 10 a.m. Monday by Central Park, travel down Main Street and end with a celebration at the HFV Wilson Community Center, 625 E Main St.  
“It’s been a longstanding tradition that we continue and it will be around forever,” HFV Wilson Executive Director Alicia Henry said.
This year the center may have one of the largest choirs they’ve in years performing for the celebration. Henry said they are expecting at least 150 participants singing in the choir, which is composed of children from various churches in the area.
“It’s always huge, but this year is pretty large,” Henry said. “And we’ve only had one practice, so usually more show up at the second practice and then some show up that day. So it’s a pretty massive choir.”
The parade has been going on for decades and Henry said she believes that’s because it is something the community is passionate about.
“People are just very passionate about it and it’s so important to them and it goes all the way back to their ancestors and what they did and they grew up as children doing the same MLK parade and the celebration. So it’s just deep within them and they don’t want to see it ever go away,” Henry said.
The parade and celebration is the same every year, sticking to tradition and always having key components, such as the choir, the Pledge of Allegiance and the Negro National Anthem.
Some members of the community have been attending the parade and celebration since birth, Henry said.
“We’ve had kids that are one-year-old wearing a t-shirt in the choir, so it starts very early,” she said.
It’s something that the children at the center always get excited about, too.
“We usually will get one child from our program to do the Pledge of Allegiance and when they’re asked to do that, I mean, they’re just so excited to do it,” Henry said.
Some of the children that sing in the choir may usually act “too cool for school,” Henry said, but when they’re singing, praising God and enjoying the celebration, it’s almost as if “they become a different person.”
Henry encourages everyone to not only attend the parade, but enter into the parade, as well. It is $10 per entry and those interested can register the day of by getting there at 9 a.m. Monday. Those interested in entering all also sign up online at funinardmore.org, stop by the HFV Wilson Community Center or by calling (580) 223-0136.