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College Pt. parade misses target for funding by $8K

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Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, signs of patriotism have been abundant in College Point. More recently, with the war in Iraq hundreds of American flags have returned to the community's streets.

But that support for country has not translated into funding for the neighborhood's upcoming Memorial Day parade.

Fred Mazzarello, general chairman of the College Point Citizens for Memorial Day, said the organization was about $8,000 short of its $27,000 goal.

"It's surprising," he said. "With the Iraqi war basically coming to an end and everything, you'd think patriotism would be at its highest level. And the theme of our parade is patriotism."

This year is not the first time the organization has lacked funds just weeks before the parade. Last year the parade committee was also short, although not to the extent this year.

The parade is one of the largest in the city. The borough's largest march is the Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.

The Little Neck parade has a budget of about $50,000, raising money through an annual dinner dance, golf tournament and other events. College Point, however, has no such fund-raisers and instead relies on money earned through mailings.

If the organization does not raise the necessary funds, the parade will not be cut in size, Mazzarello said. Instead, the group may not be able to give away as many American flags, which is its custom.

The College Point parade will have 15 bands this year, the same number as last year.

"The price of bands has gone up considerably," Mazzarello said.

Mazzarello said the bad economy has cut into donations that his organization has come to rely on.

"The contributions went in reverse," he said. "I couldn't believe it. People who have been giving for years we haven't heard from."

The parade will start on Sunday, May 25, at 2 p.m. Participants will march from 26th Avenue and College Point Boulevard to Herman A. MacNeil Park.

Penny Herrel will serve as the parade's grand marshal. Herrel's father, Everett, was well known at College Point's VFW Post 885 and recently died.

Lia Estrada, 10, will be the parade's poppy queen.

Whitestone's Memorial Day Parade will take place the following day on Monday, May 26, at 11 a.m., starting at Memorial Park at 149th Street and 15th Drive.

The crowd will march north on 149th Street to 12th Avenue, head east to 150th Street, south to 18th Avenue, and return to Memorial Park via 149th Street.

The parade's committee has yet to announce its grand marshal and poppy queen, said Edward Michalec, one of its members.

Michalec said the Whitestone group was not having funding problems.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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