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The inaugural “I Have a Dream” parade and ceremony in celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was truly a memorable day for Lancaster. With more than 45 entries participating in the parade, as well as an estimated 200 in attendance for the ceremony, folks braved the cold to come out and honor a great leader.
There are many people who worked together to make this inaugural MLK Jr. celebration happen. Thank you to Lancaster Mayor Joe Shaw and City Council for their vision. Special thanks to Councilwoman Tamara Green Garris for her enthusiasm to personally invite church groups, community groups and businesses.
Thank you to the event committee members Garris, Councilwoman Sara Eddins, City Administrator Helen Sowell, Pat Scruggs, Walter Tillman, Jessie Shannon, Barbara Miller, Teresa Meeks and Karen Proctor for their time and effort in pulling the event together.
The first essay contest hosted by the city brought in more than 25 entries. Thanks to our essay judges, the retired educators of Lancaster County: Pat Scruggs, Arthur Benjamin, Carolyn Jordan, Bertha Smith, Mary Barry, Betsy Folks, Pat Joyner and Walter Tillman for promoting the “I Have a Dream” Essay in our middle and high schools, as well as to choose the two winners who personified Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.
The winners of the “I Have a Dream” ceremony received gifts from the city of Lancaster, Mandy Powers Norrell and gift cards from Pizza Inn, Applebee’s, Zaxby’s, Sonic, Walmart, Japan, Taco Bell and Wa Chang.
The event day couldn’t have been more beautiful without the official kickoff performance by the Lancaster High School band, directed by John Rhodes. Thanks also to parade staging volunteers, the Fatherhood Project, Frankie Cunningham and Glyn Hasty, parade judge ambassadors, Casey Ballard and David Ghent, and judges Christina Chastain, Shirnetha Belk Wilform and Katherine Stevens.
We thank Burn’s Ford, Cauthen Motors and drivers Michael Scruggs, Nikki Green, Alfrick Seegars and Vince Felix for ensuring our grand marshals and essay winners arrived at the ceremony on time.
Following the parade, the crowd attended the first MLK Jr. Ceremony at city hall. We thank Elaine Reese and Troy Dunbar for their beautiful rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner,” Ro Harris with Faith Hope & Victory Christian Church, as well as the Lancaster Youth and Young Adult Mass Choir, directed by Angela Thompson.
It was an honor to have worked side by side with fellow city employees from every department in the city. The support to bring this event to life was very exciting.
We thank Lancaster Police Department, Fire Department, Solid Waste, Utility Billing, Public Works and Support Services for their help.
This truly was an event in which every department in the city brought their support and encouragement.
Again, thank you.
Caroline Hasty is events and promotions manager for the city of Lancaster.