Arlington’s MLK ‘Advancing the Dream’ Celebration Set Jan. 18-21, 2019

The annual Arlington Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Advancing the Dream” Celebration is set for Jan. 18-21, 2019.

As one of the largest celebrations in the state, this four-day event has consistently attracted thousands of Arlington-area residents each year. This will be the 30th year the Arlington Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee has hosted the celebration. This year’s theme is Building Harmony, Celebrating Diversity.

The MLK Advancing the Dream Awards Banquet

This celebratory weekend kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 with the MLK Advancing the Dream Awards Banquet. The keynote speaker is Donna Brazile, a veteran Democratic political strategist, adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist and television political commentator. The banquet will be held in the Bluebonnet Ballroom at the E.H. Hereford University Center on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington. Tickets are $55 and can be purchased at This year’s Arlington MLK art and essay contest scholarships are sponsored by Atmos Energy.

MLK Step Show Competition

Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King with the best in elementary, junior high and high school stepping performances. The MLK Step Show Competition is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Bowie High School Auditorium, 2101 Highbank Dr. Admission is $10 at the door and $5 for all elementary students and children under the age of 5. A limited number of $5 pre-sale tickets are available at the AISD Administration, 1203 W. Pioneer Pkwy.

Poetry Meets Jazz

Verb Kulture and the Shelley Garrett Jazz Band come together to explore jazz and poetry through an evening of nostalgic jazz and inspiring poetry performances. This event is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 in the Bluebonnet Ballroom at the E.H. Hereford University Center on the UTA campus. Admission is $20. Click here to purchase tickets.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr./Hubert Moss Ecumenical Service

This year, the First United Methodist Church of Arlington at 313 N. Center St. opens its doors to host an inspiring service of hope and celebration, featuring performances and keynote speaker, Dr. Jack Thomas, president of Western Illinois University. This event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20. An MLK holiday reception will follow the service.

Zeb Strong Jr. MLK Day of Service

The Arlington Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee plans to involve hundreds of volunteers in making a difference in The American Dream City on this national holiday. Individual volunteers and volunteer groups can sign up for the Day of Service on the event’s website,
Volunteers will meet at Mission Arlington/Mission Metroplex, 400 W. South St., at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21 for their assignments, tools and supplies. The first 300 volunteers will receive a MLK T-shirt commemorating the 2019 Arlington MLK Celebration. A continental breakfast will be provided.

MLK Day of Service Festival

The MLK Day of Service Festival will include recognition of the MLK essay winner, local dance troupes and exercise groups, face painting, food trucks, storytime and MLK videos. This event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21 in the City Center Plaza between City Hall and the George W. Hawkes Downtown Library.

The MLK Youth Musical Extravaganza

More than 400 youth voices come together as the Arlington Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Choir. This musical tribute also features dancing, drummers, winning step team performances and more. Admission is free. This festival is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21 at the Fielder Church Metro Center, 2011 S. Fielder Rd.

About the Planning Committee

Since 1989, the Arlington Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee has been comprised of the following founding entities: the City of Arlington, UT Arlington, Arlington Independent School District, Tarrant County College and Arlington Ministerial Association with generous support from many sponsors, contributors and hundreds of volunteers. Every year, the chairmanship role rotates between the founding entities. This year, Arlington ISD is proud to lead the planning of the four-day celebration. Aaron Perales, Leslie Birdow and Linh Nguyen are serving as the 2018 MLK Celebration Committee Chairs. Click here for sponsorship opportunities.