BAY RIDGE – The kids took over Third Avenue and the grownups loved it!
The 53rd Annual Ragamuffin Parade took place on Saturday, turning Third Avenue into a sea of smiling children marching in creative, handmade costumes and parents who proudly walked with their youngsters to the cheers of thousands of spectators.
The parade, which also featured marching bands, colorful floats and other spectacular sights, started at 76th Street and ended at 92nd Street.
“It was a wonderful day. The sun was shining and all of the children looked great. The costumes were so creative!” Ragamuffin Parade President Rose Gangi told the Home Reporter on Monday.
Philip Guarnieri, CEO of Empire State Bank, served as the parade’s grand marshal and experienced the special thrill of marching past his own bank. Empire has a branch at 8701 Third Ave. “He is a wonderful, community-minded person who is a big supporter of the parade. We are proud to have him as our grand marshal,” Gangi said.
In addition to the grand marshal, the Ragamuffin Parade committee always selects a person of the year to march at the head of the parade. This year, the honor went to Mark and Rodger Loughlin, two brothers who own Ferrantino Fuel.
“The Ragamuffin Parade is one of those things that make Bay Ridge so special and unique,” Councilmember Justin Brannan told the Home Reporter. “The small town in the big city vibe that Bay Ridge is known for was in full effect with all the kids marching down Third Avenue in their creative costumes. It’s great to see the neighborhood come together on a beautiful September afternoon.”
The parade is sponsored every year by the nonprofit group Ragamuffin, Inc.
Children are the heart of the parade.
Gangi, a Bay Ridge native who attended Visitation Academy and Fontbonne Hall Academy, is marking her first year as chairperson of the parade.
The Ragamuffin Parade is one Bay Ridge’s most beloved traditions and a highlight of the community’s fall season.
The first Ragamuffin Parade took place in 1966.
In honor of the parade’s 50th anniversary in 2016, New York City officially co-named the corner of Third Avenue and 74th Street, “Ragamuffin Way.”
Saturday’s Ragamuffin Parade was the first event of a double dose of weekend fun to usher in the fall season in Bay Ridge. On Sunday, the 46th Annual Third Avenue Festival brought out massive crowds.