Thousands prep to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2013

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Festivities will kick off across east Tennessee Monday morning with parades across the area.

Parade participants will line up at 8:30 a.m. at Tabernacle Baptist Church on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue in Knoxville. The parade's set to start at 10 a.m. working it's way to the Greater Warner A.M.E. Church in Burlington.

A memorial tribute service will follow at the Greater Warner Tabernacle AME Zion Church at 11:45 on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. The service is open to the public.

The Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra will celebrate the life of King with a special performance at the Tennessee Theater scheduled for 6 p.m.

People in Sevierville will celebrate with a parade that begins at 10:30 at First Baptist Church on Court Street. It will run to Bruce Street before circling the court house and returning to the church.

The celebration will continue throughout the week at Maryville College. Tuesday, everyone's welcome to join students for a reading of King's famous letter from the Birmingham jail at 12:15 in Huttig Chapel. That will be followed by a reception.

Many will gather Wednesday 1 p.m. in Donius University Center to fill baskets for Baskets of Hope for kids affected by serious illness.

Diane Nash, who coordinated the Freedom Ride from Birmingham to Jackson in 1961 will wrap up the week with reflections on Thursday in Maryville University Auditorium.

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