GLENS FALLS — Educational, socially stimulating and entertaining — that’s how the Rev. Leonard Oates describes the annual birthday celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
The event will be led mostly by local students.
“We let the students have the freedom to express themselves however they want, as it relates to Dr. King,” said Oates, pastor of the Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church in Glens Falls.
Choir groups from Glens Falls High School and Hudson Falls High School will sing. Other students will do readings.
Last year, a male student performed a rap song he had composed about King’s legacy.
“It was excellent,” Oates said.
The event will start with the marchers, who will gather at 3 p.m. at City Hall and start walking to Christ Church United Methodist at 54 Bay St. at 3:30 p.m. Roughly 150 did the walk it last year, according to Carol Kirkwood, an organizer and attendee for the past 15 years. About 300 people attended in total.
At 4 p.m., an ecumenical service will start, celebrating King’s legacy.
Traditionally, the service has lasted about 90 minutes.
“And it gets better every year,” Kirkwood said.
“Some of us remember Dr. King, but the kids seem to enjoy (the event) too ... not only do they listen, but they understand,” she said.
Mary Gooden, an organizer with the Glens Falls NAACP who help put on the event, echoed Kirkwood’s excitement.
“The kids’ participation is what makes it,” Gooden said. “It’s the best thing the NAACP could have ever done for the celebration.”
The Greater Glens Falls Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Community Choir, conducted by Dr. Dexter Criss of SUNY Plattsburgh, will perform.
Two rehearsals are scheduled for the community choir: the first one at 7 p.m. Friday at Faith Tabernacle Church at 15 Nelson St., and the second one at noon Saturday, also in the church.