By Kathianne Boniello
The Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade Organization, Inc., is counting on some big appetites to help raise money for one of the nation’s largest Memorial Day events.
In lieu of the group’s traditional dinner dance, which in the past was held in early May but has been rescheduled for later in the year, the parade group has opted to hold an affordable community awards brunch May 26.
“We’ve been saying all along we want to get the community involved,” parade spokesman Victor Mimoni.
At $37.50 a pop, tickets for the brunch are cheap enough to attract a large number of Little Neck-Douglaston residents, said Mimoni, who said the event will feature several entrees as well as dessert.
The brunch will also recognize the parade’s honorees, including the Man and Woman of the Year, the Youths of the Year, as well as the Community Service and Senior Americanism awards. The grand marshal and division marshals of the parade will also be honored at the brunch.
Held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston, Mimoni said the brunch should foster a sense of community.
“It’s a chance for people to have a good meal and meet their friends and neighbors,” he said. “It’s a chance for people to turn out a little for the parade.”
This year’s Community Service Award is going to the community’s uniformed services, including the members of the 111th Police Precinct, city firehouse Engine Company 313/Ladder Company 164 in Douglaston and the Manhasset/Lakeville Fire Company just over the city line in Great Neck.
The Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade bills itself as the largest Memorial Day event in the nation, often competing with Chicago for bragging rights. The parade begins Monday, May 27, at 2 p.m. and runs from Jayson Avenue and Northern Boulevard in Great Neck, westbound along Northern Boulevard to the St. Anastasia’s parking lot in Douglaston.
The community awards brunch is part of a restructured parade group that has been seeking to establish a year-round presence for the parade, Mimoni said.
“The dinner dance concept is still very much in the plans, but for later in the year,” he said.
Last week’s golf outing at the Douglaston Golf Course, which Mimoni said raised approximately $9,000, will eventually be held in the fall, he said.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.