Dicey weather couldn’t hold 49th Annual Ragamuffin Parade down

Despite some lousy weather, Mother Nature did not rain on one of Bay Ridge’s most important parades.

The 49th Annual Ragamuffin Parade marched on as the event once again featured local children sporting their favorite costumes ranging from firefighters to princesses to superheroes. School bands and a few surprises were also on the agenda for the beloved parade.

Because rain was in the forecast as well as high winds, the event, held on Saturday, October 3, was  shorter than usual. Event planners also had to contend false rumors posted on social media that the parade had been postponed. However, devoted fans of the parade still showed up and found a good time.

“It’s always fun. It’s a nice way to start the fall season,” said long time attendee Susan Monahan Whiteaker. “I come every year. I marched in it when I was a kid.”

Parents got a kick out of bringing their young ones to the parade. “Our little girl is here for her third year,” said mother Christina Lombardo. “She marched with her best friend and they both dressed as princess peacocks. She loved it.”

Caled Bloom lifting weights
Caled Bloom lifting weights.

There was even an attendee from Greece. “It’s very different experience for me,” said Katerina Antonopoulou. “We have parades where I live but usually for national holidays. It’s great to have one for kids.”

Ted General, public relations director and member of the parade’s organizing committee, was pleased with the outcome. “We’re so happy and excited there was no rain,” he said. “What’s great about it is when you watch the little kids running around in their costumes. We are also grateful to the parents that did bring kids despite warnings of heavy winds and rain.”

This year’s Man of the Year and owner of Pipin’s Pub, Stephen Oliver, was thrilled to receive the title. “I was 100 percent honored. It came out of left field for sure and I’m happy to be part of something that means so much,” he said. “The community is most important to me. I was born and raised here. To see something great like this means the world to me, as a parent and as a business owner in the neighborhood.”

Mary Ann Walsh was  this year’s grand marshal.

Highlights included a decorated firetruck from the FDNY in celebration of the agency’s 150th anniversary. The FDNY mascot, Hot Dog, on board waving to attendees.

Elected officials also took in the fun-filled but chilly day. “Given the weather conditions, we had a great parade. It was shorter than usual, but no less enthusiastic,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “This is a tradition that generations of Bay Ridgeites have grown up on. It’s a connection to the past, but also laying a groundwork for the future.”

“The schools get energized. The parade gets the kids and parents involved,” said State Senator Marty Golden. “Everyone is trying to outdo each other. You want people to feel ownership and get involved in their own community.”


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