Raising money to honor our Nation’s heroes.
To help raise money for the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, now in its 149th year, Frankie Marra is hosting the sixth annual Kings County Memorial Day Parade Benefit on Sunday, May 1 at the Salty Dog, 7509 Third Avenue.
“Our main objective is to just raise enough to have a really nice parade,” said Marra, noting that, six years ago, money dried up for the parade. “The day itself has gotten bigger. There has been a bigger attendance and it spans more blocks. It’s great because it reminds people that this parade is about soldiers who sacrificed and gave their lives for the country and this benefit is to make people aware of that.”
Marra first organized the benefit six years ago, and typically raises close to $20,000 each event, with all proceeds going to the parade. According to him, Bay Ridge residents contributing to the noble cause has kept the parade going strong.
“It’s what this community exemplifies,” he said. “They always come together and support this and I’m not surprised. The community is tremendous. How can you say no to raising money to honor soldiers that never came back and gave [their] all?”
Five bands will perform during the benefit, including Out of the Blue, the Canny Brothers Band, Frankie Marra and His Band, Head ‘N South and Radio Daze. “The musicians performing this year are some of the best we’ve ever had,” he said. “Being a musician, I call friends that are band leaders and without hesitation, they say ‘Frankie, I’m there.’ They don’t get paid.”
In past years, 400 to 500 people have shown up to have a good time and show their support. According to Marra, the Salty Dog has played a great host to the event.
“The ownership has always opened their doors to the benefit. It’s the perfect place to hold it,” he said. “There will be pictures of soldiers from the army, navy, and marines hanging in the background of the venue to pay homage to the military. The giant televisions also run videos that support the troops.”
Both the benefit and parade mean a lot to the organizer and local musician.
“It’s just something very dear to my heart,” Marra said. “My father was a World War II veteran. When he died, veterans came to the funeral and it was a tremendous ceremony. It was a great thing.”
Marra himself will be honored this year as a deputy marshall of the parade.
The event, which will go from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. costs $25 dollars at the door, with proceeds going to help fund the parade. There is also a raffle for “16 Nights in Bay Ridge” where the winner will take home a $100 gift card to 16 restaurants in the neighborhood.
“It’s a great day because it grounds us and reminds us the sacrifices these heroes made,” Marra added.