Meet the Ragamuffin grand marshalThere was no doubt about it. The 2013 Ragamuffin Parade Committee voted unanimously to tap local Community School District 20 Superintendent Karina Costantino as this years grand marshal.Therefore, on Saturday, October 5, the parades number one fan will lead thousands of costumed youngsters from 76th to 92nd Street at the 47th Annual Ragamuffin ParadeIts the best parade because its all about the kids, said Costantino, an avid spectator since its inception. The superintendent recalled watching from the sidelines as a teacher at P.S. 104 in the late 60s.I started in this district, she said, so I remember that the Ragamuffin Parade was and still is such a big parade and just a staple for the Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights community.Since the start of her career, Costantino went on to become an assistant principal in 1988, and in 1992 was appointed principal of P.S. 22 in Staten Island.And now Im home, said the grand marshal, happy to be back in District 20.I go every year, she said of the annual event, because I love to watch the kids. Its so exciting.Just like the parade has impacted Costantino, the enthusiastic educator has certainly left her mark on the community.Shes just a dedicated and highly regarded educator, said Third Avenue Merchant Association President Bob Howe, and shes done a lot to raise the level of public school education throughout the district.When asked if she looked forward to ditching her sideline-view for a lead role this year, Costantino was ecstatic.Oh, you couldnt stop me, she said. The Ragamuffin Parade is the essence of what Bay Ridge is all about.Marra honored as Person of the YearSunset Park native Frankie Marra admits he was never a fan of parades growing up but since fundraising for the Kings County Memorial Day Parade and the Bay Ridge Saint Patricks Day Parades, the local rock-and-roll legend and community activist has found a special place in his heart for the annual events. This year, the Ragamuffin Parade Committee named him person of the year.Its a great honor, said Marra. The Ragamuffin Parade, like many of our parades in Bay Ridge, is special because it celebrates children.According to Marra, its all about the tradition.Weve got to support these things or the traditions go away, said the man of the year, also a sponsor of the 47th annual parade, and whats great about this tradition is that it pulls the kids from out of their home, out from behind the computer and gets them to be creative.You dont see much of that anymore, he added.The Dyker Heights resident embodies the tradition of Brooklyn himself, having grown up playing stickball in the streets set to the soundtrack of passing Mister Softees. The musician loves Brooklyn and Brooklyn loves him right back.Theres not much left to be said about Frankie, said Third Avenue Merchants Association President Bob Howe, reflecting what many Bay Ridge residents have already said to praise Marra. Hes involved in every charitable event in Bay Ridge, bringing dedicated organization skills and just a lot of get-it-done determination to every event that hes involved in.Its a jam-packed weekend for the honoree, set to perform alongside fellow Bay Ridge bands at the 39th Annual Third Avenue Festival overtaking the same strip Sunday, October 6.
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