The Ragamuffin Parade, one of Bay Ridge’s oldest traditions, is45 years young this week.
A kick-off luncheon took place at the Bay Ridge Manor lastweekend, honoring this year’s Grand Marshall, Christina Tettonis,principal of the Hellenic Charter School and the Person of theYear, Tom Kane, a lifelong Ridgeite who died earlier this year.Congressmember Michael Grimm, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis andState Senator Marty Golden were on hand to celebrate the belovedevent.
The first Ragamuffin Parade took place in late October 1967.Father McKenna of Our Lady of Angels and Ridgeite Cliff Scanlonrounded up neighborhood children from different parishes to put ona parade, just for fun.
Joan Curran, a Ragamuffin Committee member for 30 years, led theparade in 1970, when her son was just eight years old. It was somuch fun, she said, noting that she wore her husband’s old derbyand an oversized jacket. Back then, no one wore costumes. Kidsjust wore their parents’ clothes so they looked messy like littleragamuffins. I marched down Fourth Avenue, leading the whole thingalongside Father McKenna. It was priceless.
Howard Dunn, 84, attended the luncheon with his older brotherLawrence, 90. Those were the good old days, he said. It was tokeep the children occupied and to bring unity between kids andadults.
Dunn, a member of the American Legion, has marched in the paradeas an adult with the Boy Scouts. It’s a wonderful thing for thechildren and it brings all of the community together, he said.
Patricia Killen, who has also been on the committee for 30years, noted that there were no prizes for costumes when it firstbegan. It was more creative and the costumes were outstanding,she said, adding that she loves seeing so much happiness. The kidsare so animated. It’s just a good time.
Colleen Golden, president of the Ragamuffin Committee, said thatthis parade sets the bar for other neighborhoods. They have triedother parades like this one, but it just didn’t work, she said.It advances the cause for children.
The 2011 parade is Saturday, October 1, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.Those interested in marching should sign in and line up at the OurLady of Angels parking lot at Third Avenue and 74th Street startingat 11 a.m. Judging will begin at 11:30 a.m. The parade marches downThird Avenue from 76th Street to 92nd Street.