Rain doesn’t dampen spirits at Fourth of July Picnic

The rain didn’t stop Brooklynites from letting their patriotism shine through this year at the eighth annual Greater Bay Ridge Fourth of July Picnic.

Approximately 600 to 700 people showed up on Independence Day at the 82nd Street Field in Shore Road Park to celebrate our nation’s 239th birthday with live music, great eats, face painting and neighborly fun despite some rainfall during the day.

“I was surprised at the number of people that came out,” said Chip Cafiero, the event coordinator. “It was more than I anticipated, a larger crowd. The people were great and everyone was in good spirits. The weather didn’t really put a damper on it.”

Some people waited the rain out in their cars while other enthusiastic picnic goers, armed with umbrellas, braced the rain to watch bands like Windsor Terrors, Blue Circus, Ragtag, the Max Christopher Band, and Frankie Marra & His Band perform.

“When the sun came out, people came down in droves,” said Frankie Marra, the originator of the event. “You had to be there to experience it and see the joy on people’s faces.”

During the free all-day event, attendees brought their own food, chairs and blankets to enjoy a good old-fashioned picnic and have some fun.

“I grew up in an apartment building. We never barbecued because you couldn’t have a grill,” Marra said. “We all can’t afford to go to the Hamptons and our summer homes. This is a big thing for most people. It really helps the people who can’t afford a summer home and go away for the Fourth of July.”

The picnic also gives people in the Bay Ridge area an opportunity to branch out and have a neighborhood-wide celebration.

“They’re enjoying it all as a community,” Marra said. “It’s called a family picnic, but you get to meet the neighbors next to you and it’s just people enjoying themselves and celebrating the country.”

In addition to a lawn filled with sprinklers for the kids and face painters, flags are sold for people to wave around for just a dollar apiece. Food is also sold to benefit the 68th Precinct Youth Council and the SWB Parks Task Force. State Senator Marty Golden, who helped sponsor the event, came to show his support.

“One of the best backdrops you can have is the Verrazano Bridge,” Marra said. “You see the faces of the people just enjoying themselves and you can’t help but say, ‘Hey, we’re doing a real good thing.’”

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