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A new art parade is coming to Gowanus this weekend. Here's a preview of what you'll see.

Inaugural Gowanus Art Parade coming to Brooklyn on June 1
Inaugural Gowanus Art Parade coming to Brooklyn on June 1 01:54

NEW YORK -  Brooklyn's getting a new weird, artsy parade. 

The Gowanus Art Parade will dance along the historically polluted canal Saturday, the first of what organizers hope will become an annual tradition.

Map shows Gowanus Art Parade route

Gowanus Art Parade map
CBS New York

This week, a coalition of creatives came together to create costumes for the event, which is meant to honor their complicated community.

Artist David Barthold, who has lived and worked from a space in Gowanus for more than two decades, holds up a painted mask with googly eyes.

"It could be a dragon. It could be a bird. Could be a sea monster. Could be our own version of, you know, the Loch Ness Monster," he says. 

The parade, organized by nonprofit Arts Gowanus, comes as the neighborhood grapples with a lot of changes, including a historic rezoning, heavy development and a federal cleanup.

"The irony is that artists often move into spaces that are undervalued or undesirable or obsolete, and we spur interest in the area surrounding those industrial spaces," Bartold says.

Arts Gowanus Executive Director Johnny Thornton is a mural painter, one of many artists whose work is well known along the notoriously nicknamed "lavender lake."

"Artists are always drawn to affordability. And so because it was an industrial area and rents were low at some point, a lot of artists came there and sort of built this creative community her," he tells CBS New York's Hannah Kliger.

Then there's the 4th Avenue Yarn Collective, known for elaborate knitted displays known as yarn bombs.

"Even amidst all the skyscrapers that are going in, there's still this really down-to-earth community that will come together," says Beverly Crilly, who is part of the collective and made a knitted octopus hat for the parade.

"Creatures of the Canal" is the focus of the inaugural Gowanus Art Parade

Amid a mountain of sequins and tulle, dozens are hard at work sewing, knitting, and gluing costumes to celebrate this year's inaugural theme, "Creatures of the Canal." It's a play on the mythical mutants that may inhabit the soiled shores.

"Sort of the three-eyed fish that you see sometimes in cartoons," Thornton explains. "That's where I think a lot of this sort of mythos around the canal has started, of how toxic it is and what this would do. Mutated creatures and fun things like that."

"The fact that these animals survive and thrive in a Superfund site is pretty inspiring," adds Pam Wong, Arts Gowanus Special Projects Creator.

It joins the festive lineup of other famous Brooklyn processions like the Annual Mermaid Parade that celebrates Coney Island's burlesque community, and the Red Hook Barnacle Parade, commemorating the neighborhood's resilience during Superstorm Sandy.

The parade kicks off Saturday, June 1, at 3 p.m. from Union and Nevins Streets, and ends at the Second Street waterfront with a community festival. 

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

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