Annual Ragamuffin Luncheon helps prep for historic 49th annual parade

Prepping for one of Bay Ridge’s most iconic parades, the annual Ragamuffin luncheon was held on Sunday, September 27 at the Bay Ridge Manor, 476 76th Street.

The event which serves as a fundraiser for the beloved, but costly, parade, included raffles, a cocktail hour, and honors for the parade’s Grand Marshal Mary Ann Walsh and Man of the Year Steven Oliver.

“The luncheon is our main fundraiser, but we also take the opportunity to acknowledge our honorees,” said Ted General, public relations director for the parade. “The parade committee is always looking for donations as the parade is an expensive proposition. We had a crowd and I believe we raised a good amount of money.”

Walsh, who has been a supporter of the parade since its inception, was thrilled by the honor. “It means a great deal to me. I happened be around when they first established the Ragamuffin Parade. One of the three priests that started it lived right across the street from me. I remember when they tried to get it going 49 years ago,” she recalled. “So I was very flattered when they asked me.”

Throughout the years, Walsh, who is also the administrator of the Kassenbrock Brothers Memorial Scholarship Fund and a member of Community Board 10, has attended nearly every parade. “The Ragamuffin Parade means a tremendous amount to the kids,” she said. “On that Saturday morning, it’s great to see them come with their costumes and line up. They’re thrilled with it all. It’s also great for the community.”

Walsh also discussed her pleasure at sharing the day with Oliver, owner of Pipin’s Pub. “Steve and I are great friends. He was thrilled,” she added.

“Steve has been very supportive of Ragamuffin financially,” noted General. “He’s also had a major impact on children in the community. He’s been involved with the St. Anselm Youth Program and been a coach for Fontbonne.”

The luncheon was a success, Walsh told this paper. “It went beautifully. It was very nice to see a full house. I brought my grandchildren who had never been to anything like that,” she said. “We got all kinds of citations from elected officials. It was nice to be honored.”

Walsh was also pleased that others acknowledged her efforts on behalf of the community for so many years. “It’s very meaningful. The leaders were joking. Some of them were saying they didn’t know why I wasn’t asked a long time ago,” she said.

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