It’s never too cold to honor the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Even in Saturday’s chilly weather with temperatures in the low 50s, Palmetto residents came out in strong numbers to attend Lincoln Park’s annual Multicultural Festival and Youth Extravaganza.
Wrapped in blankets, sweaters and everything in between, more than 300 members of the community interacted and celebrated in memory of the revolutionary civil rights activist.
The Blue Notes, a quartet performing various R&B and soul classics such “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” were the stars of the show. The crowd swayed from side to side and danced to keep warm. For lead singer Bernard Fullen Jr., performing on that stage was a dream come true.
“It’s an honor to perform in the name of Martin Luther King. I’ve watched artists perform up here for the last three years,” said Fullen, who has lived in Florida for four years. “It’s usually hot, but it looks like everyone had a good time, and I enjoyed performing for the beautiful people of Palmetto.”
One attendant said she was impressed with the turnout in the cold weather and was glad that the community was able to unite for a day of remembrance.
“It’s awesome. We need something like this, we really do. The parade and this is just awesome,” said Shirley Nelson.
In addition to live music, vendors formed a circle in the park, offering everything from fashion accessories to barbeque and soul food. D. Bernard Woodie, who recently hosted a holiday turkey giveaway, took the opportunity to raise money for the upcoming Rubonia Mardi Gras event, charging $1 a pop for access to two bounce houses.
“This sort of thing really brings the community together in a great way,” Woodie said. “Some of these people haven’t seen each other in years, and it really is multicultural. Just take a look around, there’s different races everywhere.”
His bounce houses were but one form of entertainment for children. There was also a swinging pirate ship ride and a 30-foot-tall slide, which children slid down on burlap sacks before racing back to get in line.
Along with rides and games, educational opportunities for the kids were also available. Brenda Freeman of the Educational Consultants Consortium set up a booth to give away about 500 books to Manatee’s youths.
She said the giveaway helped promote the Jan. 15 grand opening of a new church library, which will include free Martin Luther King, Jr., books, at Anna Gayle Resource Center, 2112, Third Ave. E., Palmetto.
“This is a wonderful event,” Freeman said. “It brings everyone together as one.”