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Soak up some history on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Carolyn Fennell speaks at Rollins College's celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day last year. Celebrations abound throughout the area on Jan. 16-18.

Carolyn Fennell speaks at Rollins College's celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day last year. Celebrations abound throughout the area on Jan. 16-18.

Jenny Andreasson

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Monday, Jan. 18 marks the 24th Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and cities and organizations are commemorating the African American civil rights leader with festivals, parades and talks on Monday, and the prior weekend.

Here are some local events to get the children out of the house on their day off and increase their awareness of the sacrifices made by King to put an end to racial segregation and discrimination:

Rollins College series of MLK Day events

Rollins College in Winter Park is hosting a series of events from Thursday, Jan. 14 to Monday, Jan. 18. For more information on the events, contact Rachel Luce at rluce@rollins.edu or 407-691-1240.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, The Center for Contemporary Dance performs "Colours of Courage": A celebration of Black History in America at the Annie Russell Theatre.

At 4 p.m. Friday is a film screening of "Two Towns of Jasper" with dialogue at the SunTrust Auditorium. The film chronicles the 1998 racially motivated murder of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas.

At 7 p.m. Saturday is Spoken Word/Open Mic, with topics social justice/peace and harmony at Daves Down Under at the Cornell Campus Center. There will be a guest poet and the floor will be open for anyone wishing to contribute through spoken word, song, poetry, story, rap, or other.

At 6:01 p.m. Monday is a Candlelight Vigil at the Warren Building parking lot (rain site is Bush Auditorium). The group will pause to honor the life and dreams of Martin Luther King Jr. and will take advantage of an opportunity to teach about King's message on reflection, empowerment and challenge through a series of speakers, musical performances, and dance.

Eatonville's 33rd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Celebration

The Town of Eatonville will host its 33rd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Celebration on Saturday Jan. 16 through Monday Jan. 18 with several events in King's honor. This year's theme is "Embracing the Dream for Change".

The parade is at 2 p.m. Saturday on Kennedy Boulevard. There will also be a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. Monday, beginning at the Catalina Park Entrance on Kennedy Boulevard and ending at the Denton Johnson Center, 400 Ruffel St. in Eatonville.

To participate in the parade or to be a vendor, contact Paul Stevens, MLK Director, at 407-489-5981 or e-mail pstevens@nationalcof.com. Visit townofeatonville.org for more information.

Winter Park's 8th annual Unity Heritage Festival

Residents and local businesses will come together to celebrate the City of Winter Park's 8th annual Unity Heritage Festival on Sunday, Jan. 17, and Monday, Jan. 18. The annual festival will promote family history and raise funds for the Educational Fulfillment Fund for local economically disadvantaged youth.

The festival begins on Sunday in Shady Park at Hannibal Square adjacent to the Winter Park Community Center, located at 721 W. New England Ave., from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Special activities will include children's games, career booths, food and retail vendors, special entertainment by various gospel artists, and the presentation of the annual Heritage Award. Free family history research will be provided by specialists from the Heritage Center Family History Library, which provides services to the general public throughout the year and specializes in family history of West Winter Park residents.

The heritage festival continues in Shady Park on Monday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Join Mayor Ken Bradley and Winter Park city officials at 10 a.m. for a special Martin Luther King Jr. Symbolic Program.

For more information regarding the 8th annual Unity Heritage Festival, please call 407-599-3397.

Arthur "Pappy" Kennedy Prayer Breakfast

The 19th annual Arthur "Pappy" Kennedy Prayer Breakfast will be held at 7:45 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18, and celebrates the life and accomplishments of Orlando's first African-American elected official, Pappy Kennedy, as well as Martin Luther King Jr. It is at the First Baptist Church of Orlando, 3000 S. John Young Pkwy.

Kennedy positively touched the lives of many Orlando youth through the promotion of education and hard work, according to the Central Florida YMCA, a sponsor of the event. He was elected to the Orlando City Commission in 1972.

At the prayer breakfast, the 2010 Arthur "Pappy" Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented along with the Arthur "Pappy" Kennedy Scholarship. The $1,200 scholarship is presented to an African-American high school senior who has exemplified dedication to their community and education. Proceeds from the event will be used to support the Arthur "Pappy" Kennedy Memorial Scholarship Fund.