Thousands of costumed kiddies jammed Third Avenue on Saturday, October 14 as Bay Ridge gleefully celebrated its 51st annual Ragamuffin Parade – a neighborhood staple that continues to serve as a yearly welcoming of the fall season in southern Brooklyn.
The fun-filled day – during which children are invited to dress to impress and march along the commercial strip with their friends and families for the chance to win fun prizes – includes kids, young and old, as well as local organizations, marching bands, vintage cars and more.
Participants this year dressed as everything from their favorite superheroes and Disney characters to their favorite critters and even their favorite eatery – one miniature marcher wowed onlookers as she made her way down the Avenue dressed as a drive-through Dunkin’ Donuts.
The decades-spanning parade – which was founded by Cliff Scanlon and Father James McKenna – may be geared towards youngsters, but it also has a place in the history books as one of Bay Ridge’s oldest and most sacred traditions. Furthermore, Ragamuffin history buffs boast, what began as a safe alternative to trick-or-treating has gone on to inspire others of its kind.
“It literally spawned a lot of parades for children,” said Ted General, public relations director and member of the parade’s organizing committee. “There was a time you couldn’t find parades for kids where they dressed up. Now they are all over the city and even the Tri-State area.”
Though Bay Ridge’s is always special and, according to Parade President Arlene Keating, this year’s was even more so.
“It was perfect, it really was,” said Keating. “It was one of the largest crowds we’ve ever had, the weather cooperated, the kids had a great time — it was just awesome.”
Of particular note this year, the president said, was the imagination of local children and their parents
“The originality that is coming out from these parents with these costumes for the kids is just incredible,” Keating said. “This was our best year yet and it just keeps getting better.”
The year’s grand marshal was Monsignor Kevin Noone, pastor of Our Lady of Angels Church, and this year’s Man of the Year was Ray Aalbue, chairperson of the Brooklyn’s Kings County Memorial Day Parade.
The two led the 51st Annual Ragamuffin Parade, which stepped off at 1 p.m. at 76th Street and Third Avenue. From there, it made its way to 92nd Street, featuring thousands of costumed children along the way, and ending with awards in the HSBC parking lot at 9201 Third Avenue.
For more information on the yearly tradition, visit www.ragamuffinparadebayridge.org.