The overcast weather did not stop folks from attending one of Bay Ridge’s most anticipated events of the year, the annual Ragamuffin Parade, which took place on Saturday, Oct. 13, and ran along Third Avenue from 76th Street to 92nd Street.
Over 1,500 residents and visitors flocked to the neighborhood to watch children walk the parade route.
The annual parade is sponsored by Ragamuffin, Inc. and featured thousands of colorfully costumed children dressed up as everything from superheroes like Spiderman and Wonder Woman to “Walking Dead” zombies.
One adorable little boy was dressed up like the Pillsbury dough boy and a cute little girl was decked out as a sunflower butterfly.
Ragamuffin Parade President Arlene Keating was happy with turnout. “Though the morning rain may have held some folks back, there was no shortfall of costumed children who were anxiously awaiting the start of the parade,” Keating told this paper.
“While the sun wasn’t exactly shining, once the kids began marching their wears along the avenue, it was pure sunshine!”
Costume judging took place between 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. before the march began at 1 p.m. The winners for the most creative costumes were awarded bikes for their efforts.
The McKinley Junior High School Band marched along the parade route as did the Xaverian High School Pipes and Drums, and the Fort Hamilton High School Flute Players.
Keating called the Horizon Dance Troupe, who performed Michael Jackson’s “Thriller Dance,” a great new addition to this year’s line-up.
This year’s grand marshal was Leo Lykourezos, owner of Leo’s Casa Calamari at 86th Street and Third Avenue. Michael Esposito and Ted Nugent, owners of Cebu restaurant at 8801 Third Avenue, were the men of the year.
The Ragamuffin Parade began in October, 1966, as a small procession at Fourth Avenue and 73rd Street in which children wore their parents’ oversized clothes and looked like little ragamuffins, as they paraded around a single city block.
It soon became a neighborhood tradition as the costumes became more creative and the parade route expanded.
The parade was the brainchild of the Rev. James McKenna, a priest at Our Lady of Angels Church (OLA) at 7320 Fourth Ave., and Cliff Scanlon, a Bay Ridge community leader and parishioner at OLA.
“I remember marching in the Ragamuffin Parade when I was a kid,” City Councilmember Justin Brannan told this paper. “I dressed up as Luke Skywalker. I wore all black and my mom made a lightsaber out of an old shower curtain rod that we painted cobalt blue. Those were the days. To support and view the parade now as the local councilman was really special. Seeing all the kids smiling and having a great time is really what it’s all about. The Ragamuffin Parade is so unique and absolutely one of my favorite Bay Ridge traditions.”