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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City's annual Village Halloween Parade is officially coming back after a pandemic hiatus, thanks to a Brooklyn-born finance industry vice president.
A significant budget shortfall threatened to cancel the parade, but Jason Feldman, a senior vice president in wealth management at UBS Financial Services, and his wife, Missy, donating the funds to ensure the historic celebration moved forward.
The couple learned in late September that the fate the parade was in doubt, and as a longtime fan of the event, Feldman knew he had to save the day.
"When I heard on the news that the annual Village Halloween Parade was going to be canceled for lack of funds, I was devastated," he said. "I immediately felt called to save the parade, and to make a difference for our city. Honestly, as a native New Yorker, I love this parade so much I don't really think I had a choice. I know it's not literally the shot in the arm most people are looking for, but I would suggest it's the best medicine for our city."
Thanks to Feldman, revelers can get back to their costume planning for the spooky festivities.
The annual tradition that has become a part of the fabric of New York City had to be canceled in 2020, and organizers opted not to hold a virtual celebration because they felt "person to person connection is at the heart of this event," artistic and producing director Jeanne Fleming, said.
This year's parade is now officially confirmed to return on October 31, haunting the Village from 6th Avenue North of Spring Street to 16th Street, from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.
Prior to last year, the parade had only been canceled one other time in its 47-year history, in 2012, due to Superstorm Sandy. Now, Fleming has Feldman to thank for making sure this year's event was a go.
"Although he's going to be attending the parade dressed as a monk in sandals carrying a staff, which is his true-life path as a Tai Chi practitioner for the past 20 years, we all know he's actually a knight in shining armor," Fleming said. "We set a deadline of October 5 to receive enough funds to produce this year's parade, and Jason's generous donation came just in time. We are so incredibly grateful to him for helping us preserve this longtime New York tradition-especially during a year when New Yorkers need some levity and something to look forward to before winter descends on us again."
The 2021 Halloween Parade theme is "Let's Play" and is dedicated to the children of New York who did not get a proper Halloween last year, as well as to the child in all of us.
In partnership with the Children's Museum of Art, kids will be asked to help design the Giant Puppets that lead the parade.
To help further accentuate the theme, satirist Randy Rainbow will serve as Grand Marshal and sing his new song "Pink Glasses," written in collaboration with Alan Menken.
All CDC guidelines will be followed for the outdoor gathering, and parade organizers are asking all spectators, as well as participants, to wear masks -- and get creative in making them.
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