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Organizers confident Puerto Rican parade will go on

Residents and children take in the Puerto Rican/Hispanic

Residents and children take in the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day Parade in Brentwood. (June 5, 2011) Credit: Kevin P Coughlin

Organizers of an effort to save the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day Parade of Brentwood announced Monday that half of the money needed to keep the party going has been raised.

The parade, which had been canceled by nonprofit Adelante of Suffolk County due to lack of funds, will go on for a 46th consecutive year thanks to sponsorships and private donations, said the event’s new organizers, nonprofit Teatro Yerbabruja and the office of Assemb. Philip Ramos. Organizers have raised half of the $50,000 needed to cover the event’s costs and expect to reach their fundraising goal in the next month.

“We are going to make this happen,” said Ramos (D-Brentwood). “One way or another we are going to make this tradition continue.”

The group also has the support of the largest Puerto Rican event in the nation, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade that attracts an estimated 80,000 to Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue every year. National parade co-founder María Román said her organization is helping the Brentwood group find sponsors and promote its event “to save it as a showcase of our people and our contributions.”

Roberto Clemente Jr., a Central Islip resident and son of the legendary baseball player, said he will have Power Ice, a company of which he is a partner, contribute. “We need to keep this as a family event that really creates good memories and brings our culture to our backyards,” Clemente Jr. said.

The parade is slated to start at 11 a.m. on July 22 and will follow its traditional route along the hamlet’s Fifth Avenue, from the Southern State Parkway to Pine Aire Drive. Organizers have established a hotline for contributors and volunteers to call at 631-609-9254.

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