A Weekend of Free Events to Commemorate MLK Day 2021

The spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time when many across the nation gather together to reflect upon the legacy of the late civil rights leader. With the coronavirus ravaging the nation, though, that won’t be possible on MLK Weekend 2021.

But going virtual hasn’t put a damper on events in western wake like the Town of Cary’s Dreamfest, one of many free events that will continue online instead of in-person.

“I just feel so fortunate that we were able to put together such a strong, and diverse program to offer to the public,” said Robbie Stone, the Town of Cary’s Arts Program and Operations Coordinator. “Even though everything is virtual, I think there’s a wide range of material there that would appeal, both to kids and to adults.”

Dreamfest can be accessed on the Town’s website starting Saturday, which would have been King’s 92nd birthday. The lineup of performers includes video presentations by storytellers Willa Brigham and Janice Greene, as well as actor Mike Wiley, who will present a theatrical depiction of Jackie Robinson’s life in “A Game Apart.”

The Town will also be showing the 2020 documentary “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” a film that chronicles the life of the late civil rights activist and congressman through rare interviews and archival footage.

At 3:30 p.m. Sunday, the Dreamfest Interfaith Service will be live-streamed from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cary. The special service will include speaker Rev. Brenda Smith, music from Dr. Abe Caceres and a presentation from the N.C. State “virtual MLK project.”

The virtual events present an opportunity to reflect upon a year marked by deep political strife and nationwide protest over racial inequality and police brutality in 2020.

“We wanted to give everyone an opportunity to reflect on the contributions that Martin Luther King made to our society, particularly with trying political times that we are in now,” Stone said.

For more information about Dreamfest, visit www.townofcary.org/recreation-enjoyment/events/holiday-events/dreamfest.


The Town of Apex is also holding online events, which are all free to the public but require registration.

The proceedings kick off Friday night with a virtual step show, spoken word and youth panel from 7 to 9 p.m. A virtual march and social justice panel will take happen from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and a virtual worship service at Apex Baptist Church starts at 11 a.m. Sunday.

For more information, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/town-of-apex-dr-martin-king-jr-celebration-tickets-134354510959.


Relias will hold a virtual MLK Day of Service and virtual 5K throughout the weekend, encouraging folks to get out and run, walk or bike their own course instead of a singular route to ensure proper social distancing.

The cost to register for the event, which will be open through Monday, is $30 with proceeds benefiting Urban Ministries of Durham. Those who register will receive a 5K t-shirt. For more information, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/NC/MORRISVILLE/ReliasMLKDayofServiceVirtual5k2021.


The Triangle Martin Luther King Jr. Committee won’t gather in person for its annual interfaith prayer breakfast, like it has for the last 41 years. The event will still continue virtually, though, from 7 to 9 a.m. on Monday as a headlining event for the group on MLK Weekend.

Bishop Michael Curry will be the keynote speaker for the breakfast, which can be viewed at WRAL.com and will be broadcast on WRAL at 8 a.m.

MLK weekend for the committee begins Friday morning with a small group of local leaders and clergy who will lay wreaths at the King statue in Raleigh’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens at 9 a.m.

The proceedings pick up again Monday, beginning with the prayer breakfast setting the tone for a full day. From 9 to 11 a.m., organizers are encouraging corporate prayer to reflect on the legacy of King. A food distribution drive thru set up at Southeast Raleigh YMCA will also begin at 9 a.m. Monday.

At noon, the panel discussion, “Love Is The Way: Community Resiliency During COVID-19,” commences. At 5:30 p.m. an evening musical celebration finishes out the day. The panel discussion and the musical performance will be streamed on the group’s Facebook and Youtube. For more information visit https://trianglemlk.com/programs-events/.

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