Martin Luther King Day Events

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a variety of events in Waco are being hosted for both the weekend leading up to the holiday on Monday.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, the Waco NAACP’s Martin Luther King Birthday Spaghetti Lunch will be hosted at the St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Fellowship Hall. Tickets for the come-and-go event are $5 and are available for purchase both advance or on the day of the event. The purchase of a ticket includes a plate of spaghetti, garlic bread and a cookie. Call (254)733-5261 or email for tickets or more information.

The Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony will be at 12 p.m. Friday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The main speaker will be Reverend Anthony Burrus, author of his autobiography “Born to Lose, But Bound to Win” and assistant pastor at Second Missionary Baptist Church in Waco.

“We wanted [him to speak] because he had been around during the civil rights era,” Coque Gibson, one of the founders of the event, said.

The event began in 1989 after Gibson visited Graceland and saw a wreathing ceremony for Elvis Presley.

“[The wreaths] were beautiful and covered everything,” Gibson said. “We thought that it would be a great way to commemorate the struggles that Martin Luther King Jr. went through so that we could be together.”

Gibson is also involved with the annual MLK Candlelight Vigil, which begins at 6 p.m. on Monday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The speaker will be the Rev. E. Shaun Williams, who was recently named as Pastor of Pleasant Olive Missionary Church in Waco. It is requested that those who wish to participate bring their own candles to the event.

There will also be a proclamation given to the Baylor Athletic Department during both ceremonies from the McLennan County. Ken Starr and members of the Baylor athletic teams will be present.

“We are inviting all of Baylor Nation,” Gibson said. “Come on over!”

The theme of both events, according to Gibson, is “Let there be peace, and Let it begin with me.” In addition to speakers, there will be local singers and dancers at the event as well.

The Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition will be preparing box lunches for those serving in gardens around Waco on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Preparations will take place from 2 – 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at Penland Dining Hall.

“[Martin Luther King Jr.] Day is a big day for us because we are all about serving the community and making sure that the community as a whole gets involved in service and receives service as well as a mutual benefit,” Kelly Ezell, a Community Engagement and Services member at Baylor, said. “It’s something we feel strongly about and want to be behind.”

AmeriCorps is a large food donor for the project and a large number of local gardens are involved, including the Baylor Community Garden and the St. Luke AME Garden. World Hunger Relief Farm and Keep Waco Beautiful are also partakers in the event.

Those who are interested in volunteering to help pack lunches should wear pants, closed toe shoes and have hair up. Volunteers are also welcome to help distribute the meals from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday. Sign-ups are available through

The Annual March and Wreath Laying, the first event of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, will begin with a march in Indian Spring Park at 9 a.m Monday and travel across the Suspension Bridge to Martin Luther King Jr. Park. This event is sponsored by the NAACP and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.For more information about the event, call (254) 733-5261.

Events (for calendar):

Friday: Spaghetti Lunch at St. Luke AME, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

-Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony at MLK Park, 12 p.m.

-Tango Palace at Jubilee Theater, 7 p.m.

Saturday: Volunteers for Urban Gardening Coalition at Penland Dining Hall, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

-Tango Palace at Jubilee Theater, 7 p.m.

Sunday: Tango Palace at Jubilee Theater, 4:30 p.m.

Monday: Urban Gardening Coalition Distribution at Penland Dining Hall 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

-6 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, the Annual Candlelight Vigil.

Wednesday: MLK Celebration Luncheon at Foster Conference Room 250, 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m., $20 tickets

-MLK Evening Event at Foster Conference Room 250, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., free