Bring the picnic basket to Bay Ridge this July 4th

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In small town U.S.A., Independence Day means community-wide festivities, at which young and old turn out enthusiastically, waving flags, toasting the occasion and engaging in old-fashioned activities such as picnics and parades.

Those who live in Bay Ridge know that the community – in many ways – mimics the little town within the big city. It’s no surprise, then, that this July Fourth, the neighborhood is poised to celebrate America in grand old style at the Greater Bay Ridge Fourth of July Picnic.

The first-time event, which is sponsored by State Senator Marty Golden, musician Frankie Marra and HappyPets, Inc. and others, will take place on Independence Day, July 4th, from noon to 8 p.m., at the 82nd Street field at Shore Road, and will feature a bevy of activities and entertainment geared to the entire family.

Just for starters, five live bands – Frankie Marra and his Band, Prodigal Child, Garrigan and DeCampo, Dirty Stayouts and Pill Hill Radio -- will be performing. To keep the music going, there will also be a jam session. “We’re going to do a lot of patriotic songs, and plenty of flag-waving,” promised organizer Chip Cafiero. “It’s going to be an all-day party, a fun event, a day to celebrate America.”

In addition, there will be kids’ rides, sprinklers for the tykes to run in, games, contests, dancing, raffles and lots of picnic-perfect foodstuffs.

Think such summery treats as hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage, corn on the cob, watermelon, soda and ice cream, and get in the spirit of the extravaganza whose purpose to wish the U.S.A. a very happy birthday.

The purpose of the event said John Quaglione, a spokesperson for Golden, is to provide families staying in Brooklyn over the holiday weekend with the opportunity for some all-American fun.

“This year,” Quaglione noted, “the Fourth of July parade is on June 28th. Gas prices are keeping people home, so we’re expecting more people to be in the area. So, we decided, let’s have a celebration in the neighborhood for all the people who are here.”

Some people may stop by for only a hour or so, posited Cafiero. Others, he suggested, “May spend the day.”

The occasion is intended, “To build community and make the community more user-friendly,” noted Quaglione, who pointed out that the location is ideal – not just for the picnic festivities but for viewing the annual Macy’s fireworks spectacular that will fill the skies above New York harbor after the sun goes down.

How many people are likely to show up? “Probably over 1,000,” guessed Quaglione. “Walk down, bring some chairs, bring a blanket, bring your flag, and if people want to bring a few favorite patriotic dishes to enjoy, it would only add to the grandeur of the event.”

There’s no entrance charge, though there is a charge for food and rides, with all proceeds benefiting the 68th Precinct Youth Council, Bravo Volunteer Ambulance and CERT1NYC.

“It’s going to be a great day,’ Quaglione promised.

For further information, contact Golden’s office at 718-238-6044.

Updated 3:45 pm, October 19, 2011
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