Enquirer Herald

York streets fill for MLK Day parade

Bundled up in blankets and winter coats, hundreds lined the streets of downtown York on Saturday for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade.

"You get to see everybody united," said Teresa Dixon, who watched from a spot near the old courthouse.

"Without looking at color or creed."

A tradition since the 1980s, the parade faced some uncertainty this year after organizers decided not to rely on a $3,000 contribution from the city of York.

Local NAACP leaders said hospitality tax money from the city came with too many strings attached, and instead decided to raise private donations from churches, businesses and individuals. Expenses total about $5,000, organizers said.

Spectators cheered for marching bands, including from Benedict College and Eau Claire High School, and waved as church vans and dressed-up cars drove slowly down North Congress Street.

Sarah McClain, a York woman in her 70s, said she has never missed an MLK parade.

"Some people my age, they're in nursing homes," she said. "God saw fit for me to be here. It's just a great blessing."

The parade is a rare chance for families to catch up and reminisce, said Mary Osborne of York. Afterward, many gather for food and music in an old black school building outside downtown.

"It brings out people you haven't seen in a long time," Osborne said.

"We shouldn't have to wait for a funeral before we get together."