Bay Ridge

Excitement builds for Ragamuffin Parade, Third Ave. Festival

Bay Ridge prepares for biggest weekend of the year

September 28, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (left) presents Ragamuffin Parade Grand Marshal Mary Ann Walsh with a citation at a luncheon hosted by the parade committee.
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Bay Ridge is getting ready for its biggest weekend of the year, when it welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors to the neighborhood for a parade and a street fair that are sure to put smiles on everyone’s faces.

The 48 hours of fun gets underway with the 49th annual Ragamuffin Parade on Saturday, Oct. 3, starting at 1 p.m. The parade, which features children in homemade Halloween costumes, runs along Third Avenue from 76th Street to 92nd Street.

The grand marshal will be Mary Ann Walsh, a longtime Bay Ridge civic leader. She will be at the head of the parade along with Ragamuffin Man of the Year Steve Oliver, owner of Chadwick’s Restaurant on Third Avenue.

The following day, Bay Ridge will play host to the 42nd annual Third Avenue Festival, a 24-block-long street fair with rides, games, concerts, dance performances, outdoor cafes, fashion shows, sidewalk sales and lots more.

Sponsored by the Merchants of Third Avenue, the festival runs along Third Avenue from Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street) to 93rd Street from noon to 6 p.m.

“We welcome everyone in Brooklyn and in New York City to come and see how special Bay Ridge is and how much our merchants have to offer,” Merchants President Bob Howe told the Brooklyn Eagle on Monday.

The Merchants organization represents the interests of storeowners on the Third Avenue shopping strip between 67th and 95th streets. There are more than 250 stores along that stretch of the avenue.

The festival provides a great opportunity for store owners to meet new customers and present their shops in a positive light, Howe said.

There will be sidewalk cafes on nearly every block on festival day, with restaurants serving Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Middle Eastern and other cuisines. There will also be concert stages set up at various points along the festival route where rock bands, church choirs, theater companies and dancers will perform all afternoon.

The Third Avenue Festival and Ragamuffin Parade serve as bookends to a special weekend in the southwest Brooklyn community to help usher in the fall season.

The annual parade is sponsored by Ragamuffin, Inc. and features thousands of colorfully costumed children dressed as everything from the Jolly Green Giant to Katniss Everdeen of “Hunger Games” fame.

The children will be accompanied by marching bands from all over New York City.

Ragamuffin Inc., led by President Colleen Golden, will award prizes to the children judged to be wearing the most creative costumes. Last year, the big winners received bicycles.

But all kids will receive some kind of gift, according to Ragamuffin, Inc. In order to be eligible for a gift, a child must have filled out a registration form prior to the parade and must have completed the entire parade route all the way to 92nd Street.

On Sept. 27, Ragamuffin, Inc. hosted a luncheon at the Bay Ridge Manor catering hall to congratulate Walsh and Oliver and to raise funds for the parade.

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