Neighborhoods are gearing up for Memorial Day celebrations

Hank Slaveski, Grand Marshal of the Bridesburg Memorial Day parade, pose for a portrait on his decorated porch, Saturday, May 21, 2011.

With Memorial Day coming up on Monday, May 30, neighborhoods are gearing up for a variety of events, with Bridesburg set to host what organizers believe will prove to be the state’s largest Memorial Day event.

But, in nearby Port Richmond, celebrations will not be overshadowed by their neighbors to the north.

In Port Richmond, starting at about 10 a.m. at the intersection of Thompson Street and Allegheny Avenue, string bands, school groups and a wealth of entertainers will join veterans to begin the neighborhood parade.

Port Richmond resident and aide to City Councilwoman Joan Krajewski, Patty-Pat Kozlowski has been working with parade chairman Master Sgt. Walt Milewski to prepare for the event.

The parade will head north on Thompson Street, turning west on Venango Street, then south on Belgrade Street before turning east on Clearfield Street, heading north on Thompson Street and back west on Allegheny Avenue to end at Campbell Square Park.

It’s a route that has changed over the years, and Kozlowski said, this year, organizers are hoping to include as many locals as possible.

“We want to flaunt our red, white and blue,” she said during an interview last week. “We want everybody, all in the parade.”

She said Port Richmond On Patrol and Civic will be handing out American flags and the neighborhood town watch will be sharing red, white and blue beads with onlookers.

SugarHouse casino will provide the SugarHouse Express Trolley for the event. Veterans will be invited to ride through the parade and wave to the audience.

Port Richmond events will culminate with a flag raising ceremony, historical sign dedication and memorial event at Campbell Square.

In nearby Bridesburg, a week of events will lead up to what organizers said will be the largest Memorial Day celebration in all of Pennsylvania.

“We will have a pretty busy week,” said John “Moose” Muszynski, a member of the United Veterans of Bridesburg who served as a combat medic in the Army during the Korean War.

“It’s going to be the largest in PA,” stressed Muszynski.

This year, for the first time and in an effort to help cover expenses mdash; the parade can cost between $15,000 and $20,000 — the Memorial Day events merged with Bridesburg Pride Week, which is traditionally held in the fall.

“It costs a lot of money to run the parade,” said Joseph Slabinski, president of the Bridesburg Business Association. “We said to ourselves, let’s tie this all together … It’s been working out very well and as a result, it looks like this will be one of the biggest and best parades we’ve ever had.”

In fact, many local businesses chipped in and stepped up through fundraisers and other events throughout the month in order to present the Memorial Day celebration.

“When you have a parade, the whole world comes out,” said Chris Kulb, whose company, Kulb Designs, produced a line of T-shirts to raise funds for the parade. The shirts are available at the shop at 4240 Richmond St.

“This is a Bridesburg pride thing,” he said. “Old family members and friends all come back just for that day.”

Detailing the Memorial Day parade, Muszynski said there will be at least five local high school bands, four from New Jersey schools, a number of string bands, two piper bands — one of which will be the Philadelphia Police Piper Band — and a total of 14 musical groups performing in the parade.

That’s without mentioning the many veterans associations what will be involved, as Muszynski said there would be veterans “from all over the city” at the Bridesburg parade.

But, even with so much to do on Monday, Muszynski said the Sunday events held before Memorial Day mean the most to him.

That’s a time, he said, when veterans get together, visit area cemeteries and pay their respects to fallen friends.

“Sunday is the biggest day. It’s a day dedicated to the dead,” said Muszynski. “That’s what it means to me … The day before is what really makes an impact for us guys.”

Those interested in supporting the Bridesburg parade can send a check or money order to the United Veterans of Bridesburg, in care of Ed Dubeck, 2635 Eddington St., Philadelphia, PA 19137.

Reporter Hayden Mitman can be reached at 215–354–3124 or hmitman@bsmphilly.com

Celebrating Memorial Day in the ‘Burg

Bridesburg’s Memorial Day festivities will kick off this year with a May 26 ceremony at Thompson and Orthodox streets, and culminate in the parade on Monday, May 30.

Events include:

Thursday, May 26:

A 12:30 p.m. ceremony at Thompson and Orthodox streets, followed by a “Bridesburg Proud Celebration” for seniors and guests at Edgemont Caterers, 4411 Edgemont St.

A 6 p.m. flag-lowering ceremony at the Bridesburg Recreation Center, 4601 Richmond St., followed by refreshments and a presentation by the Bridesburg Historical Society at VFW Post #2, 4638 Richmond St.

Saturday, May 28:

Neighborhood cleanup, concentrating on the parade route and several other locations. Crews will gather at 10 a.m. at the Rite Aid, Orthodox and Richmond streets.

Sunday, May 29:

A 10 a.m. Mass to remember deceased veterans at St. John Cantius Church. Immediately following, there will be a bike-decorating contest in the parking lot adjacent from the church. A short march featuring veterans and the decorated bikes will then proceed to Holy Redeemer Cemetery.

Monday, May 30:

The parade will begin with a 9 a.m. service at American Legion Post 821, Salmon and Orthodox streets.

A 9:15 a.m. Memorial Service will also take place at Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery, 4300 Salmon St.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Richmond and Juniata streets.

Bridesburg Parade Route:

From starting point, Richmond and Juniata Streets

North on Richmond to Bridge Street

West on Bridge to Thompson Street

South on Thompson to Orthodox Street

East on Orthodox to Richmond Street, reviewing stand at Richmond and Orthodox streets

South on Richmond Street to parade end point.

More events:

Charles J. Glenn Memorial Day service

A Memorial Day service will be held at the Cpl. Charles J. Glenn 3rd Memorial, Marlborough and Wildey streets, on May 30 at noon. Friends, neighbors and supporters of the memorial are invited to participate along with the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial Society and the Philadelphia Police and Fire Pipes and Drums.••

Fairmount Memorial Day Ceremony

A Memorial Day ceremony will be held at Ward Park, 24th and Aspen streets, on Mon., May 30 at 10 a.m.

For more information call (215) 236–3970.••