WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic speech on the Washington Mall.

Christie Ileto explains if you’re headed to D.C. for the commemorative event, you’ll need to leave early.

The fencing, sound system and jumbotrons are all in place on the Washington Mall.

Aug. 28 will mark 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic speech at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

“I’m hoping that we can reignite that spark that was happening,” said Felicia Farrell.

Farrell–who is from Massachusetts–is one of thousands who have journeyed miles to be a part of history.

“I want everyone to keep in mind the spirit of what was happening 50 years ago and to remember that we still have a lot of work to do,” said Farrell.

“I think it’s fitting that they do something like this,” said Richard McKinney.

President Barack Obama is set to deliver a speech so security will be tight.

Road closures start overnight.

“The biggest challenge is going to be parking. If you have the ability to get here by transit, Metro, that’s your best bet,” said Linda Friar.

For people without tickets, you can watch. The only point of entry is north of the War Memorial. Once you get in, you can’t have firearms, weapons or big bags but you can have water and snacks.

While crowds aren’t expected to swell as high as Saturday’s march, organizers anticipate up to 20,000 people will flock to the mall to hear a renewed message, this time from the president.

“What prayer and hard work can do. You’re looking from then to now, both guys are giving the same message,” said Ricky Brockington.

Crowds are expected to be so congested Wednesday morning that federal employees are being asked to stay home and telework.

Events start at 11 a.m. and are expected to wrap up around 4 p.m.

For more information on parking, road closures and prohibited items, click here.


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