One of the oldest Memorial Day parades in the nation was in the spotlight on Sunday, May 1 as Ridgeites – young and old – gathered at the Salty Dog, 7509 Third Avenue, for an afternoon of fun and fundraising for the 149th Annual Kings County Memorial Day Parade.
The sixth annual fundraiser was organized by local luminary and musician Frankie Marra who started it in 2011 to make sure the parade kept on marching when government funding for the event was lost, putting its future in doubt.
Marra and his team typically raise close to $20,000 each event, with all proceeds going to the parade. According to him, Bay Ridge residents contributing to the noble cause have 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?”
This year’s lineup featured performances by Out of the Blue, the Canny Brothers Band, Head ‘N South, Radio Daze and Frankie Marra and His Band.
Marra himself will be honored this year as a deputy marshal of the parade, alongside Deputy Inspector Ray Festino, Chief of Detectives Brooklyn South; and Gulf War Veteran Dr. Charles E. Hall. The honorable Honorable Jerome D. Cohen will serve as grand marshal of the parade, set to step off on Monday, May 30 at 11 a.m.
The route begins at Third Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway, running along the strip towards Marine Avenue, up to Fourth Avenue, and over to John Paul Jones Park, where the parade will conclude with a special memorial service.
This year’s theme is “Service, Valor, Sacrifice.”
Additional reporting contributed by Jaime DeJesus