Celebrating, as they proclaimed, “fifty years of smiles,” supporters of Bay Ridge’s half-century-young Ragamuffin Parade turned out at a fundraising dinner held to mark the milestone.
Among the crowd gathered at the Bay Ridge Manor, 476 76th Street, on the evening of Saturday, September 24, were former honorees – all sporting boutonnieres or wrist corsages – as well as elected officials (who came equipped with proclamations for the occasion) and a crowd of Ridge activists, many of whom have years of dedicated service to the parade.
“The parade started along Fourth Avenue to the delight of everyone living here in our community,” noted Ragamuffin President Colleen Golden. “Who would have thought that, 50 years later, we would still be celebrating our children and our parade!”
The brainchild of Father James McKenna, pastor of Our Lady of Angels Church, and Ridgeite Cliff Scanlon, the Ragamuffin Parade debuted in October, 1966, as local children marched around the block at OLA garbed in their parents’ oversized clothes, hence, the name, Ragamuffin.
And, Scanlon’s son, also named Cliff, was on hand at the dinner to give the toast as attendees looked forward to the parade’s next half century. “He would be overwhelmed by you people,” he told the crowd. “And I’m proud to be his son and I thank you all for being here.”