City officials on Monday morning recognized the award winners from Lakeland’s 45th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, which was held Jan. 23:

  • Best Drum Major – King Izik
  • Best Decorated Vehicle – Greater New Jerusalem Baptist Church
  • Best Flatbed with Trailer – Mount Pleasant African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Best Professional Float – MidFlorida Credit Union
  • Best Motorcycle Group – Buffalo Soldiers MC
  • Best in the unique car category – Lakeland Magic
  • Best Walkers – Lakeland PAL Cheerleaders
  • Best Dance/Step Group – Heart of Florida Step Group
  • Best Car Club – Lakeland Volkswagen Club
  • Best High School Band – Spoto High School Spartans Marching Band, Riverview

They also gave a special thank you to this year’s grand marshal, retired Detroit Tigers’ outfielder and civil rights proponent Willie Horton.

“Our History is Our Future – Protect It and Preserve It” was the theme for this year’s parade, a highlight of Lakeland’s 10-day 2023 Dream Mega Fest. More than 100 organizations participated.

Here is our photo gallery, followed by a highlights video and video of the full parade. Click on any photo to start a slideshow with larger images:

LkldNow photos by Michael Wilson

Highlights video posted by Unique Produktionz:

Full parade video posted by City of Lakeland:

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

Kimberly C. Moore, who grew up in Lakeland, has been a print, broadcast and multimedia journalist for more than 30 years. Before coming to LkldNow in the spring of 2022, she was a reporter for four years with The Ledger, first covering Lakeland City Hall and then Polk County schools. She is the author of “Star Crossed: The Story of Astronaut Lisa Nowak," published by University Press of Florida. Reach her at or 863-272-9250.

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