The best of Bay Ridge was on display, last weekend, as massivecrowds came out on Saturday and Sunday to enjoy two of theneighborhood’s most beloved traditions – the 45-years-youngRagamuffin Parade and the Third Avenue Festival, which saw thestrip transformed for 25 blocks, into a stroller’s, diner’s andshopper’s paradise.Thanks to the hard work of local volunteers, the commitment of areamerchants and a benign Mother Nature, who held off the rain tilllate in the day on Sunday, the weekend was a huge success.You could tell, on Sunday, just how much of an impact the ThirdAvenue Festival has on local spirit. From Bay Ridge Avenue to 94thStreet, Third Avenue was a sea of people, drawn to the numerousstages where area children as well as bands, martial artists andwrestlers performed to the delight of the crowd.And, that was just the beginning. Hungry hordes sampled a vastarray of tasty treats – including the specialties of many of thethoroughfare’s eateries – from stands set up to cater to passersbyor at outdoor cafés arranged on the roadway ceded by vehicles topedestrians for the day.And, while mom and dad savored the food, the children had ampleopportunity for their own kind of fun, enjoying carnival and ponyrides, arts activities and face painting.One of the things that sets the festival apart, according toorganizers, is the high amount of local merchant involvement – thatis a key reason that the event draws huge crowds, even on a daywhen another major street festival in Brooklyn is also takingplace.Of course, the kids also had their own day – on Saturday – andhundreds of them took advantage of the opportunity to show off avast array of clever, cute and cuddly costumes in a parade thatalso included bands, local organizations and schools, and an earlyappearance by Santa – a tradition that is nearly as old as theparade itself.Events like Ragamuffin and the Third Avenue Festival are keyelements in the unique mixture that makes Bay Ridge the amazingneighborhood it is.Bravo, we say, and we can’t wait till next year!
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