Bay Ridge bar rocks out for 12th annual fundraiser supporting Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade

Salty Dog in Bay Ridge was jam-packed on Sunday, April 28 for the 12th annual Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade fundraiser.
Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

A Bay Ridge bar was alive with the sound of rock and roll on Sunday, April 28, as crowds gathered for the 12th annual fundraiser supporting the neighborhood’s yearly Memorial Day parade.

The benefit, held each year at Salty Dog, raises funds for the United Military Veterans of Kings County, which organizes the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade. The event also serves as the official kickoff of parade season, during which the United Military Veterans of Kings County work to honor Brooklynites who served in uniform — and who paid the ultimate price for their country.

Six bands performed on Sunday, drawing a packed crowd to the Third Avenue watering hole. This year’s event drew record numbers, organizers said.

For a $20 admission fee, attendees enjoyed rockin’ performances and received a free drink ticket. Among the acts were the Canny Brothers, who played a 45-minute set of their signature Irish songs.

The Canny Brothers take the stage at Salty Dog for the 12th annual Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade fundraiser.Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

The Kings County Memorial Day Parade, a Brooklyn tradition for more than 150 years, honors around 55,000 veterans who call Brooklyn home. Established in 1867, it remains among the longest-running big-city marches, and is lauded as the nation’s oldest Memorial Day parade.

The parade route originally ran along Eastern Parkway until 1985, when it moved to Prospect Park West, and later to Bay Ridge — its home for the last three decades.

Brooklyn’s Memorial Day parade was as risk of cancellation in 2011 due to a lack of funds, but the community rallied to save the event. The following year, the parade’s organizing board became a nonprofit, allowing leaders to raise funds for the parade year-round.

Memorial Day, once known as Decoration Day, is a federal holiday that honors and remembers the men and women who have died in military service to the country. The holiday’s origins date back to the years after the Civil War, when people began decorating the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers and flags.

It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868 — one year after the Brooklyn parade reportedly began.

Representatives from all branches of the armed forces march in the annual Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade.File photo by Steve Solomonson

Brooklyn’s 157th Memorial Day Parade will step off at 11 a.m. on May 27, near the corner of Third Avenue and 78th Street.

Revelers will continue through Bay Ridge with a memorial service at John Paul Jones Park that will include bagpipes, a flag raising and wreath laying by Veteran Service Organizations, and a 21-gun salute by the Veteran Corps of Artillery.

For more parade day details, or to contribute to the parade’s fundraising goals, visit the official event website.

Additional reporting by Arthur de Gaeta