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Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parades Pack South Florida Streets

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The sights and sounds of an annual Miami tradition came alive Monday morning as the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade weaved through the streets of Miami traveling along Northwest 54th and ending at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.

There was food and entertainment in the form of several marching bands, dancers and a collection of low-rider and custom cars.

"This is what Dr. King wanted, family come together and have good music and good fun together," said Shediane Wallaces.

Many like Stella James found a spot along the route and posted up hours ahead of the parade so they wouldn't miss anything.

"To get the experience of Martin Luther King Day," she said.

The parade is expected to take several hours.

For many, the day is full of family entertainment at its finest, including free haircuts for the kids.

"We figured if they could look better and feel better then it's much easier to imagine that they will do better," said Michael Caraballo.

This year's parade was staged despite some calls for its cancellation after eight people were shot at last year's parade. This year more than 100 law enforcement officers lined the streets to keep the peace.

The parade is an annual tradition, but the lessons learned from Dr. King are taught year round.

While some were still too young to know the significance of his day and the man it honors, others made sure the words spoken more than 50 years ago live on in the community.

"Well, the Dr. King's legacy. He was an activist, he wanted people to have equal rights," said Tamary Lee, one of the young performers in the parade.

"I've come a long way and in the reality of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he came a long way for our people," said Joan Williams who came out to watch the parade.

Fort Lauderdale also held a parade starting at Lincoln Park. It ended at Esplanade Park at 400 SW 2nd Street for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration of Unity and Multicultural Festival.

The City of Miramar also hosted its annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration.

The parade culminated with a community celebration at Lakeshore Park located at 8501 South Sherman Circle featuring music, dancers, food and more.

The crowd at the park knew that beyond the good times of the parade and block party, there is a message.

That message from Dr. King important for this family to pass on from grandmother, to daughter, to granddaughter.

"We will tell her what he did and how he changed the world, changed people," grandmother Daphne Wallace says of her granddaughter Karmana. "We tell her all of it."

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