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Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade looking for growth in 2014

Organizers of Charlotte’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade say more bands and other marching units, and possible television coverage, will provide higher visibility for the event next month.

The parade is set for 11 a.m. Jan. 18, the Saturday before the actual holiday.

New to the parade planning staff this year is Linda Vespa, who came aboard as project manager after 10 years with the Carrousel Parade on Thanksgiving.

“We’re working to raise the visibility of the parade,” Vespa said. “We’ve already seen a lot of interest from the community.”

She said the King Day Parade has drawn 70 to 80 participants in recent years but could top that in 2014.

“I’m calling some of the people who were regulars in the Carrousel Parade,” Vespa said. “One thing we’re looking for is more bands.”

Just as was the case with the Thanksgiving parade, the King Day event follows a route down Tryon Street, from Ninth Street to near Stonewall Street.

Parade organizers say they are working to line up broadcast coverage of the 2014 event, but they say those details are not finalized yet.

The official deadline for entering the parade was Saturday. But Vespa said bands interested in joining the event can contact parade officials from the website, http://mlk.charlottevibe.com.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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