Southern California

Weekend: Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Kingdom Day Parade, festivals, and more fill the long weekend.

Kingdom Day Parade: "Our Work Is Not Yet Done" is the theme of the 31st annual procession, which will again take place on Martin Luther King, Jr. and Crenshaw Boulevards (Western Avenue is the start, Vernon Avenue is the completion point). Floats, local businesses, community leaders, marching bands, and a host of organizations around Southern California will walk the route in memory, joy, and togetherness on Monday, Jan. 18. Starting time? Find your spot by 11 a.m.

Peace & Unity and Volunteering: Long Beach will begin the weekend commemorations early, as it has traditionally done for many years, with a Saturday parade and festival at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. The fest, which will include "carnival rides, arts & craft booths," and more begins at noon, while the civil rights-honoring parade commences at 10:30 in the morning at Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Anaheim Street. It's year 28 for the LBC celebration. And if you'd like to spend Monday, Jan. 18 volunteering in Dr. King's name, join City Year at Augustus Hawkins High School in Los Angeles.

National Parks Free Day: The National Park Service only observes a special few free days each year. Of course, parks are open every day, and most of the 400+ sites do not charge a get-in fee. But those that do, like Yosemite National Park and Joshua Tree National Park, begin their calendars each year, alongside other beautiful destinations around the country, by honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. with a no-fee day. Spend Monday, Jan. 18 among the trees, boulder, or beaches, and reflect.

dineLA Restaurant Week Opens: No doubt about it -- everyone but everyone likes saving money in January. Well, that's a feeling that extends throughout the year, of course, but the post-holiday period is one of budget-mindedness. If you still want to eat out a bit, but not do any wallet-busting, check out the hundreds of participants setting up the prix fixe deals. Old favorites, new discoveries, and so forth? Yes, and so forth: The eateries are plentiful. Monday, Jan. 18 through Sunday, Jan. 31

'Star Wars' Half Marathon Weekend: If only a person could move as quickly as BB-8 speeds along, or as fast as the Falcon flies, at this annual dress-up-and-dash event. It's a weekend-long affair, truly, with happenings such as a health Expo and kidly runs landing upon various days. The big story, for many fans, are the elaborate costumes, both seen on characters inside Disneyland and on the runners themselves. So, who is running as a Wampa? Jan. 14 through 17

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