Gearing up for one of Bay Ridge’s longest running traditions, on Sunday, September 21, the Ragamuffin Parade Committee hosted its 48th annual luncheon to honor individuals that have made significant contributions in the community. It also served as a fundraiser for the parade, which takes place on Saturday, September 27.
This year, Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello was named the parade’s grand marshal, while Arlene Rutuelo, owner of Nordic Deli and President of the Guild for Exceptional Children (GEC) was named the Ragamuffin Person of the Year.
“The event was very well attended,” said Ted General, public relations director of the parade. “Colleen Golden, president of the Ragamuffin Parade Committee, emceed the program and she was very enthusiastic about honoring this year’s grand marshal and person of the year. She said they were very lucky to have them.” Golden awarded the two recipients with plaques.
“One of the things they look for (in honoring recipients) are people that have a special interest in children or work on behalf of children in the local community,” said General. Gigantiello qualifies, General said, based on his work with the Futures in Education Foundation, “which provides scholarships to children that can’t afford to attend schools.”
General also mentioned Rutuelo’s significant contributions. “Arlene is very active with the Norwegian-American Parade Committee. She’s the organizer each year and now she’s the president of the GEC. She has special interest in children as well. Those were the main considerations when choosing (the honorees).”
The luncheon also helps fund the upcoming parade. “Running a parade is an expensive proposition. The fees for bands, printing signs and getting permits add up. The luncheon is important. It helps the parade every year,” said General.
The luncheon was held at the Bay Ridge Manor, 476 76th Street.