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Monday, June 17, 2024

MLK Center hosts annual Community Block Party

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The Martin Luther King (MLK) Community Center, located north of Tarkington Park near 40th Street and Illinois Street, transformed into a bustling hub of joy and jubilation as it hosted its annual block party on May 17. The event brought together community members of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy a day filled with music, food, games and of course, community.

The block party aimed to foster a sense of unity, celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the area and highlight the center’s ongoing commitment to empowering families and building community.

Executive Director of the MLK Center Allison Luthe was pleased with the turnout.

“Last year, we set the bar for our community block party pretty high since it was our 50th anniversary here at the MLK Center,” Luthe said.

The festivities kicked off with an energetic performance by senior dance troupes K-Squad and the Sassy Seniors, delighting the audience with their moves and infectious enthusiasm.

Some of the members of K-Squad and the Sassy Seniors, two senior dance troupes, during the MLK Community Block Party at the MLK Center at 40 W. 40th Street, near Tarkington Park, in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo/Noral Parham)

K-Squad chair Kathy Johnson pointed out the irony of a senior dance troupe outlasting the youthful audience.

“They can’t keep up,” Johnson said with a laugh. “We have only performed two routines and a lot of the kids here are already tired.”

More news: MLK Center expands with outreach center

Those interested in learning more about K-Squad and the Sassy Seniors can do so at the end of the workweek.

“We have classes here at the MLK Center every Friday,” Johnson said.

Throughout the day, attendees were treated to live music from a diverse range of genres, showcasing the talent and creativity within the community.

Local food vendors lined the street and parking lot of the center, offering an array of culinary delights from classic barbecue and soul food to international flavors and vegetarian options. There were also food trucks serving ice cream and desserts.

The aroma of delicious food filled the air between the center and Tarkington Park, inviting attendees and passersby to partake in the festivities.

Children’s laughter filled the air as they enjoyed a variety of games and activities, including face painting, inflatable bounce houses, arts and crafts stations and even a dunk tank. One child could not contain his excitement as he plunged a staff member into the pool of water.

Community members gathering around a vendor at the MLK Community Block Party on May 17 2024 at the MLK Center at 40 W. 40th Street in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo/Noral Parham)
Community members gathering around a vendor at the MLK Community Block Party on May 17 2024 at the MLK Center at 40 W. 40th Street in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo/Noral Parham)

The block party helps provide a safe and welcoming space for families to connect and create lasting memories.

In addition to the entertainment and festivities, the event also featured informational booths from various community organizations, offering resources and support services to residents. The MLK Center staff were on hand to engage with community members, answer questions and share information about the center’s programs and initiatives. As the sun began to set, the party concluded with a heartfelt thank you from the MLK Center staff to all the volunteers, sponsors, vendors and community members who contributed to the event.

“It has been a great turnout for a Friday afternoon,” Luthe said.


Contact multi-media & senior sports reporter Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846. Follow him on X @3Noral.

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