Martin Luther King Day events taking place across San Diego County

Martin Luther King Jr. speaks to thousands during his “I Have a Dream” speech
Martin Luther King Jr. speaks to thousands during his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963.
(Associated Press)

Martin Luther King Jr. Day to be celebrated with events across San Diego County


A variety of events are planned throughout San Diego County to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The events range from parades and festivals to community service events held as a tribute to his work.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is officially observed on Monday, Jan. 16, this year (King’s birthday is Jan. 15), but a number of events are on other days as well.

King’s birthday was designated a federal holiday in 1983. In 1994, Congress marked the holiday as a national day of service led by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Check event websites for updates.


MLK Day of Service: Hands on San Diego hosts community service events Jan. 16 and the weekend before throughout San Diego County to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Visit


MLK Community Day of Service: Crossroads Outreach Foundation is looking for volunteers from noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 16 to help food-insecure community members get healthy foods by unloading boxes of food from a van and loading them into a refrigerated box truck, sorting foods and removing unusable foods from boxes. Visit


MLK Community Day of Service: Healthy Day Partners seeks volunteers to help with planting Grab & Grow Gardens that will be are transplanted into nursery pots and packaged into small garden kits from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 16 in the backyard of a home in Encinitas. The garden kits are distributed through hunger relief agencies throughout San Diego County to help low-income, food-insecure community members and those in need to learn how to grow their own healthy food. Visit


MLK Community Day of Service: Volunteer service event is from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 14 at Washington Park, 501 N. Rose St. Participants work together to remove litter and green waste from 2 miles of a community trail. Supplies are provided. Visit

MLK Community Day of Service: MARA Rescue seeks volunteers to help with daily ranch chores and animal care so the nonprofit can care for the animals that live at their rescue sanctuary. Volunteers may help with cleaning and refilling animals’ water, feeding animals, removing manure, raking, light construction, and other related tasks. Hours include 3 to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 13, 8 a.m. to noon Jan. 14 and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 16 at Mara Rescue, 20767 Fortuna del Norte. Visit


MLK Community Prayer Breakfast: The North San Diego County NAACP’s annual event is set for 9 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Oceanside El Corazon Senior Center. Tickets are $60; $40 for ages 17 and younger. Visit

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service: 8 a.m. to noon Jan. 14 at various sites around North County. Volunteers meet at 8 a.m. that day at MiraCosta College, 1 Barnard Drive. Sign up at


41st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade: The parade is from 2 to 5 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Embarcadero, 1355 N. Harbor Drive. The parade features floats, bands, drill teams, colleges and universities, fraternities, sororities, churches and civic and youth groups. Visit

Jazz performance and lecture: Jazz trumpeter and film composer Terence Blanchard, a five-time Grammy-award winner and two-time Oscar-nominee, will join UC San Diego Professor Emeritus of Music Cecil Lytle for a live conversation at 6 p.m. Jan. 16 at The Guggenheim Theatre in UC San Diego Park & Market, 1100 Market St., in downtown’s East Village as part of the Helen Edison Lecture Series. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Free tickets are at Blanchard will perform with E-Collective and Turtle Island Quartet at 8 p.m. Jan. 17 at Price Center East Ballroom, 9500 Gilman Drive, on UC San Diego’s main campus in La Jolla, produced by ArtPower at UC San Diego. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $50; $9 for students at

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Dignity Award: Jackie Robinson Family YMCA’s 38th annual event from 6 to 9 a.m. Jan. 13 at the Scottish Rite Center of San Diego, 1895 Camino del Rio S. The keynote speaker is Miles McPherson, pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego and former defensive back for the San Diego Chargers.
Register at

13th annual MLK Community Celebration, Sportfest & Parade: The event is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 21, with the parade starting at 9 a.m. from Valencia Park Elementary School, 5880 Skyline Drive, and heading to the Martin Luther King jr. Recreation Center & Park, 6401 Skyline Drive. Visit

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: Sharia’s Closet seeks volunteers to help sort clothing donations to provide emergency clothing to people in crisis in the San Diego community through their Bag of Hope program. The sorting will take place mostly outside under canopies at Sharia’s Closet, 6244 El Cajon Blvd. Volunteers are needed from 9 a.m to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 13 and 9 a.m to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 16. Visit

35th All Peoples Celebration: This year’s event hosted by Alliance San Diego starts at 10 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Balboa Park Activity Center, 2145 Park Blvd, with the theme “Bridging.” The Community Space opens at 9 a.m. and is free; tickets sold out. Visit

Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration: The free family-friendly festival is from noon to 6 p.m. Jan. 16 at the WorldBeat Center, 2100 Park Blvd., in Balboa Park. Highlights include live music, multicultural performances, African dance, Native American drummers and Aztek Dance, headliner Pato Banton and guest speakers, along with vegan food and an outdoor cultural arts and craft vendors marketplace. There will be a coat and blanket drive. Visit

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service with Lucky Duck Foundation: Help distribute food and water to about 75 unsheltered homeless community members in downtown San Diego from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. Jan. 13 and Jan. 16. Visit

To submit events, please email