ST.PETERSBURG, FL.--People across Tampa Bay are celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including in St. Petersburg, with the MLK Dream Big Weekend.
On Monday, the celebrations kicked off with a parade. Now in its 34th year, organizers said it's one of the longest running parades honoring the civil rights leader.
Police say about 40,000 people showed up to enjoy the festivities.
"I moved here from southern Alabama," said Mary Bogans, watching the parade.
She said she's come to the parade the last six years and made sure to bring her family.
"I came out because it’s a blessing to be able to stand and just look around just look around just socialize. And fellowship with all the people out here today," she said. "It’s a blessing because there was a time we could not do this and it’s all in honor of him because of him."
It was the first time at the parade for some.
"The experience of coming out seeing the community come together, learning something about their history and what actually Martin Luther King stands for," said Fenekya Croker, who brought her family.
The grand marshal of the parade was Retired Officer Leon Jackson, the last surviving member of the Courageous 12.
More than a dozen bands marched. Local government agencies and businesses also took part.
"Just remember what it’s for, remember what the holiday was for and not just a day off," said Jason Bryant, the president of Advantage Village Academy helping organize the event. "Just think about remembering what is the message, what are we trying to do and try to carry that forward because we made some progress, we talk about like I say the racial tensions and things of that nature but we’re not quite there yet."
Following the parade, families enjoyed the MLK Dram Big Family Fun Day outside Tropicana Field. It included games, bounces houses, food, entertainment, music and an education drive.