With the waterfront silent Monday night, and Riverbend taking a breath, M.L. King commandeered the spotlight as the crowds moved downtown for the Bessie Smith Strut.

Music lovers of all stripes turned out to enjoy the blues and the barbecue, sway to the beat, and immerse themselves in the 30-plus year-old tradition.    

There were several changes to this year's strut, including $5.00 admission for Riverbend pin-holders, and increased security presence.

Still, large crowds turned out for the downtown block party.  

Strut organizers tell Channel 3 the changes have been beneficial for all.

"We know that things are different, much different, than they were a few years ago," Rose Martin says. "And the whole thing about the improved safety, the gated event, and admission for everybody is just part of the whole plan to make sure things are under control and we have a safe and fun event for everybody."

Riverbend returns Tuesday night with Faith and Family Night.