The Tampa Bay area usually hosts some of the great events in the country to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day; however, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has prompted organizers to delay, cancel or take events virtually.

Events in St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Plant City have been forced to go online or been postponed until later in the year.

“St. Petersburg’s giant MLK Dream Big Parade draws a dozen high-stepping marching bands from high schools and universities across the county,” according to the Tampa Bay Times (TBT). “It bills itself as the nation’s longest-running parade honoring King. This year, it will be held virtually at 11 a.m. on Jan. 18 and feature short video clips.”

Mayor of St. Petersburg Rick Kriseman said, “Every year I look forward to participating in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. parade. And though each of us honors the life and legacy of Dr. King, for the safety of our citizens, we have to do things differently.”

Another big annual event – the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Banquet – will also be held virtually at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

Tampa Bay usually holds multi-day celebrations with parades and activities. But this year, the city’s parade is postponed, with plans to combine it with Juneteenth celebrations in the summer, according to TNT. It is currently scheduled to be held on June 19 at Cuscaden Park.

Ashley Bauman, Director of Marketing & Communications, City of Tampa, said, “While we’d all like to be together to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, it’s incredibly important, for the safety of our residents, to remain vigilant in practicing COVID safety. We can’t wait to join together this Juneteenth for the big celebration.”

Also, the Plant City MLK Parade has been postponed until April 3. The news was published in the Tampa Bay Times.