Cranston restaurant covering remaining costs of underfunded Gaspee Days Parade

West Bay

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A Cranston restaurant has stepped up in a big way to make sure a popular Rhode Island tradition lives on.

When the owners of Basta Italian restaurant heard the Gaspee Days Parade was in need of money, they offered to cover 100% of the deficit.

“It’s obviously a big event for all of us in the heart of Pawtuxet,” says Justin Braun, Director of Operations for Basta. “The owner Alex grew up in the area so for him it really hit home and to be a business owner in this area, it was an opportunity to give back and we all stood behind that and we are pretty excited to see the response and excitement.”

The parade typically costs about $50,000.

The Gaspee Days Parade was underfunded because the committee was unable to hold their usual fundraising events due to the pandemic.

A GoFundMe page created in February to help cover costs exceeded its $35,000 goal. Mayor Frank Picozzi has also done his part in raising money.

The remainder will be covered by Basta, saying they wanted to give back to a community that supported them for so long, even during a pandemic.

“We did some takeouts, meal services, so we saw a lot of our regulars coming back and we were serving out of our windows at some points, we even had a window bar,” added Braun.

The restaurant tells 12 News they gave $12,000.

The restaurant saying they’re not done though, and will be in full celebration mode day of.

“We’re going to be doing lunch service that day and handing gelato out the window,” said Braun.

Gina Dooley, President of the Gaspee Days Committee says she is thrilled.

“The message from the community through the GoFundMe was we want the Gaspee Days Parade! And thanks to the community support, the volunteers will be ready,” said Dooley.

Several other Gaspee Days events are expected to take place in 2021, including the a 5K, a block party and an arts and crafts festival.

The parade is scheduled for June 12th.

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