This Monday, January 21, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Day). This year would’ve marked Dr. King’s 90th birthday, and in honor of the late Civil Rights leader and American icon, many across the nation will be performing charitable acts and volunteering their time to those most in need in their communities. Saratoga Springs alone has a whole weekend of special events and actions planned to memorialize Dr. King in advance of MLK Day, and saratoga living has the breakdown of events for you below.
For MLK weekend, events and celebrations begin Friday, January 18, with the 4th Annual Dr. King Challenge, an evening of powerful spoken-word performances and songs against social injustice held at the Holiday Inn. The Challenge will feature an hour and a half of free live performances by regional rappers, actors, poets and vocalists, and will close out with world beat jazz band HEARD. There will also be an “invite” reception at 7pm in the Win and Place Room of the Holiday Inn (be sure to RSVP) before the event officially kicks off at 8pm in the Daily-Double Room.
Three events are planned for Saturday, January 19, and they’re all at Caffè Lena. From 3-4pm will be “Shout It Out!,” a historical and interactive program of African-America music with Saratoga singer-songwriter and soul master Garland Nelson. Yaddo will then present “Empowering Artists of Color” from 5-6:30pm. Watch a vibrant discussion about uplifting marginalized voices with Yaddo artist and award-winning poet and writer Kima Jones. Lastly, starting at 7:30pm, will be a 40-minute staged reading of “Our Now.” This one-act play about race, class and gender was written by local female community activists and is presented by Capital Region theater troupe Creative Action Unlimited.
Saratoga’s MLK weekend will close out with two more events on Sunday, January 20. From 2-4:30pm at the Saratoga Springs Library will be a Workshop on Equity, Inclusion, and Understanding Implicit Bias. This informative and interactive workshop is free but RSVP only, so don’t wait to request a reservation. Also on Sunday will be two great performances, back-to-back, at The Parting Glass. At 7pm will be a tribute to Aretha Franklin and her contributions to the Civil Rights and Women’s Liberation movements performed by Penny Meacham, Sister Lucille Taylor and Donald “The Soul Man” Hyman. The Franklin tribute will be followed by the lively, soul-style gospel music of The Heavenly Echoes. The show runs from 7:30-9pm, and dancing is strongly encouraged.
There will also be events on MLK Day, including a Monday Community Celebration, hosted by Garland Nelson, 2-4pm at the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church, in addition to An Evening with Daryl Davis, 7:30pm at Caffè Lena. Davis is an African-American blues musician and activist who’s worked with many famous musicians including Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and B.B. King.
And these are just the events for MLK Day weekend! Don’t forget to check out these other great happenings in the Capital Region.
Friday, January 18
Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Festival – It’s the Festival’s 10th anniversary: January 17-19 (Thursday through Saturday) at the Empire State Plaza.
Ghost Hunting Tour of The Adelphi Hotel – 6-9pm at The Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga.
The Accents – A Friday night dance party with The Accents, doors open at 8pm at Vapor in Saratoga.
Saturday, January 19
Soroptimists Cabin Fever Luncheon – This year’s keynote speaker is award-winning children’s author Catherine Thimmesh, 11am at Saratoga National Golf Club.
Saranac Pours for Paws Pub Crawl – 12-5pm at the Spa City Tap & Barrel in Saratoga.
Virginia Sole-Smith: The Eating Instinct – A discussion and reading with the book’s author, 7pm at Northshire Bookstore.
Children of the Holocaust Immigrants of Hope Concert – Saturday and Sunday at 3pm, catch the Battenkill Chorale at Skidmore’s Arthur Zankel Music Center.
Saratoga Women’s March – 1-3pm, starting at Congress Park in Saratoga.
Sunday, January 20
Photo Finish Exhibition – This spectacular new Thoroughbred-themed exhibition opens at 9am at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (to learn more about this event, click here).
Schenectady Symphony Orchestra – 3pm at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady.
Stony Creek Band – 3-5pm at the Strand Theatre in Hudson Falls.
Alabama 50th Anniversary Tour – 7pm at the Times Union Center.