Scores of King events were scheduled. Gov. Pat McCrory participated in a Triangle-area King breakfast at Durham hotel, where he urged citizens to participate in service projects.
McCrory said Dr. King influenced him as a young man.
"Dr. Martin Luther King was a hero of mine. He was someone my parents had a great deal of respect for. I remember them talking about him often because I was about 12 years old when he was struck down by evil," said the Governor. "He challenged Americans to reach for our greatest potential and then use that potential to move not only ourselves, but America forward. He believed that the individual could change the world and he was right."
The all-day celebration for Dr. King is now in its 33rd year - and organizers vow to continue it year after year.
In Raleigh, hundreds marched from the state capitol through downtown and held a large prayer service. Many held signs commemorating the legacy of Dr. King.
Many North Carolinians travelled to Washington to celebrate Dr. King's life by watching the nation's first African-American president be publically sworn in for a second term.
The Asheville High School marching band was one of the participants in the inaugural parade. And famous North Carolinian James Taylor sang "America the Beautiful."
Monday evening, the North Carolina Democratic Party will host an inaugural ball on Fort Myer outside Washington. Several hundred people are expected to attend.