Baltimore cancels 2024 MLK Day parade due to winter weather; Grand Marshal ‘Very Disappointed’ – Baltimore Sun
Mayor Brandon L. Scott said Monday that the Martin Luther King Day Parade had been canceled ahead of the snowfall forecast — but indicated it could be rescheduled.
“Unfortunately, we have to cancel the show today due to overnight winter weather.” Scott posted on Xformerly known as Twitter.
“Snow accumulation and freezing temperatures across Baltimore mean we are making this difficult decision out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our attendees. Information on possible rescheduling in the future.
Also cancelled: Martin Luther King Day activities scheduled for Monday at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, the museum said in a news release.
However, the free concert honoring Martin Luther King Jr. at the B&O Railroad Museum scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. will go ahead as planned, according to a symphony spokeswoman.
The Baltimore area woke up Monday to a dusting of snow, a wintry weather forecast until 10 a.m. Tuesday, and temperatures expected to reach 30 degrees.
There is a 70 percent chance of snow during the day Monday with little or no additional accumulation expected, according to the National Weather Service.
But 1 to 3 inches of snow and a trace of ice are expected through Monday night, according to the NWS, when temperatures will drop into the upper 20s. Tuesday will likely see a mix of rain, freezing rain and another inch of snow.
Monday’s cancellation was particularly disappointing because this would have marked the first large-scale return of the show honoring the slain civil rights leader since 2020.
The MLK Day Parade has been canceled in 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The parade was almost canceled in 2023 after Baltimore’s Office of Promotion and the Arts canceled plans for an audience and urged citizens to honor Dr. King’s memory with a day of service instead. The ensuing uproar led to the ouster of former BOPA CEP Donna Drew Sawyer. Within 10 days, Scott’s office held its own celebration that was about 25% smaller than previous MLK Day parades.
Ernestine Shepherd, who was scheduled to lead Monday’s event as grand marshal, said she was “very disappointed” by the cancellation. But the 87-year-old bodybuilding grandmother wasn’t about to let the cold weather or the absence of bands ruin her celebration.
She and a dozen of her bodybuilding friends planned to walk the parade route on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at the designated noon start time in their bright yellow gear and jiggly balls.
“I loved Martin Luther King Jr.” said Shepherd, who held a Guinness World Records title in 2010 and 2011 as the world’s oldest female bodybuilder. “We can’t let his day go by without honoring him with the walk we were meant to take.”
This is not the first time in recent memory that weather has wreaked havoc on planned public parties. Public celebrations on New Year’s Eve 2022 were canceled due to rainy weather forecasts, although the fireworks display continued. In September, Artscape’s long-awaited debut suffered a setback when the longest day of the three-day festival was canceled as Tropical Storm Ophelia descended on the Baltimore area.