Celebrating a hero ... realizing a dream

By By Alex Onken / American Press

This weekend, the festivities will start for Lake Charles’ 30th Martin Luther King Jr. Festival: The Dream, the Future, and

Me.

“It originally started off as a

three-week celebration,” said Raymond Fondel Jr., disc jockey at

KZWA-FM. “To this day still,

it works out now to a week of celebration, going to the weekend.

Over the years, we got it right to just fit within one week.”

One of the first events starting off

this year’s celebration will be the memorial breakfast on Friday at 7:30

a.m. at Trinity

Baptist Church. Entertainment will be provided by several

different high school choirs from the area, including Barbe,

Washington-Marion,

DeRidder and Sulphur. Unsung hero awards will be given to local

community leaders; schoolchildren will read essays on King;

and performing artist Chanté Moore will be at the breakfast to

perform. The event will be televised on KPLC-TV.

“It’s amazing to see all those voices come together,” said Creepa, host of “The Morning Show” on KZWA (104.9).

That evening, at 7 p.m., the Glitz, Glamour, and Stars Gala will be held at the Historic Calcasieu Marine Bank. Chanté Moore

will headline the event, as well as saxophonist Mike Phillips.

On Saturday, the MLK bike ride will be at 10 a.m. Sunday’s gospel extravaganza will be in Throne of Grace Fellowship Church

at 6 a.m.

Monday’s activities will feature several events for all ages. The annual MLK parade will start at 11 a.m. at the Civic Center.

A gumbo cookoff, a signature

event, will include teams from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and

the District Attorney’s

Office. Phillips 66 will have a career readiness expo for young

adults to show job opportunities in the area. Live music performances

will be provided by local talent such as Keith Frank, Tucka, Lil

Nate & the Zydeco Big Tymers, and Chris Ardoin & Nu Step.

Various venders and booths will be on display.

The last event for the entire festival will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Tyler Perry’s “Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman

Scorned” will be at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s all part of keeping the dream alive,” Fondel said. “That’s what you do every year. You commemorate it, and it allows

people to look back and reflect on it. It brings a lot of great people together.”