Coming up this Saturday and Sunday is Bay Ridge’s annual double blast weekend. First up is the 49th annual Children’s Ragamuffin Parade along Third Avenue from 76th to 92nd Street. The colorful kiddie parade, which includes children aged from toddler to pre-teens, kicks off at 1 p.m.
Look for hundreds of different characters parading up Third Avenue. I’m sure we’ll see a sizable brigade of Captain Americas, Spidermen, Wonder Women, Ninja Turtles, Sponge Bobs, Power Rangers, Strawberry Shortcakes, princesses, pirates, nurses, firefighters, cops, Minions, Harry Potters, plus Disney and Star Wars characters.
Each child that is registered and marches the whole route in costume will receive a free gift, and will be eligible to vie for one of the top awards–a shiny new bike. Eleventh hour parade registration will take place in the OLA/Holy Angels Catholic Academy schoolyard on 74th Street (off Third Avenue), from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Costume judging will be held at the registration area from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Parents are permitted to enter the line of march with a young child in a carriage, stroller or wagon. Prize distribution will take place in the HSBC parking lot at 92nd Street and Third Avenue.
While the main attraction at the parade are the kids dressed in homemade, makeshift or store-bought costumes, one of the highlights of this year’s parade will be the presence of the FDNY’s 150th anniversary decorated fire truck with jolly old St. Nick riding on top.
In addition to a FDNY EMS ambulance, the department will have its two mascots “Hot Dog” and “Siren.” Another crowd pleaser will be the Xaverian High School Jazz Band which recently had the distinction of playing for Pope Francis when he arrived at Kennedy Airport. Another stellar attraction will be the ever popular 90-piece championship Fort Hamilton High School band.
The next day, get ready for the big Third Avenue Festival, running from 69th to 94th Streets, from noon to 6 p.m. One of the longest and biggest street fairs in the city, it offers plenty of live entertainment, arts and crafts, diverse food selections, public interest tables and a variety of low cost items for sale. The festival since its beginning has been sponsored by the Merchants of Third Avenue.
* * *
We are deeply saddened by the loss of a dear friend and outstanding veteran and civic leader Howie Dunn. Not too many people are aware but it was Howie who strongly advocated to have the 69th Street Pier at the foot of Bay Ridge Avenue renamed the American Veterans Memorial Pier.
More recently, Howie had been serving as vice president of the Bay Ridge AARP, and on the board of the Fort Hamilton Citizens Action Committee. Back in 2003, Howie received the prestigious Civic Award from the Bay Ridge Community Council. To his wife Mae and daughter Gerri, we extend our deepest sympathy.
* * *
While we didn’t have tickets for all the special venues the Pope participated in, we did get a chance to catch a glimpse of him on Fifth Avenue as he rode to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Others in Bay Ridge said they saw one of President Obama’s Marine One helicopters carrying the Pope on his way to and from Kennedy Airport.