High school marching bands from Northwestern and Edison danced. Police color guards marched in procession. Colorful floats asked people to “Believe.”
And the politicians campaigned, in what has become a signature — but not necessarily beloved part — of Martin Luther King parades around the nation.
On Monday, it seemed just behind every float and band, someone up for election was seated on the back of a red or black Mustang. There were signs for candidates running for Congress, Florida’s House, local city councils.
And of course with the presidential election in high gear there was a large get-out-the-vote campaign, and placards pushing the crowd to go to BarackObama.com.
Still, by all accounts, Miami’s participation the 23rd annual Martin Luther King Parade, which took place along a 20-block stretch of Northwest 54th Street, was hugely successful.
Thousands of parents who had the day off and kids who didn’t have to attend school flooded both sides of the street in the heart of Liberty City for several miles from Northwest 12th to 32nd avenues.
Kids grabbed beads and ate candy tossed from vehicles, while parents took pictures with one hand, while trying to keep track of their children with the other.
At least that the was the case with Tywan, a 10-year-old at Miami’s Comstock Elementary, who screamed to his mom when some men passed wearing military gear, then proceeded to blow his whistle, sort of in beat, with the Florida International University marching band. Tywan and his friend and classmate Walter liked the football players, and the Harley Davidson motorcycles most of all.
“I liked how loud they are,” said Walter, who just wouldn’t quit blowing that whistle.
Police reported no problems and no arrests Thursday, with Miami Police Maj. Delrish Moss saying everything went “smoothly.”
Well, everything except Moss’s ride.
Sitting in the back seat of a green, 1949 Plymouth sedan, Moss and Chief Manuel Orosa waived to and talked with people in the crowd — until just before reaching 31st Avenue, where the 62-year-old car suddenly overheated.
Before the city’s motor pool made its way to haul the antique home, Moss and Orosa were joined by a gaggle of parade-watchers who helped push the old Plymouth to the side of the street.
Moss said the kids seemed to get it Monday — understanding the significance of King’s legacy, perhaps even more than some of their parents who were born after the civil rights leader’s assassination in 1968.
“I think they may get it a little more,” Moss said. “They learn about it in school, so it brings a bit of life to the textbook.”