Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge set to host Ragamuffin Parade, 3 Ave. Fest

Double dose of fun on tap for this weekend

September 29, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The parade draws children from all of the area’s schools. Students from P.S. 102 marched behind their school banner in the 2014 parade. Eagle file photos by Paula Katinas
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Bay Ridge will devote an entire day this weekend to the joys of childhood and will follow it up by hosting a family-oriented event the next day.

The 50th Annual Ragamuffin Parade, a march that features thousands of children wearing colorful, creative homemade costumes, will take place on Saturday, Oct. 1, on Third Avenue, starting at 1 p.m.

The next day, Sunday, Oct. 2, Third Avenue will roll out the red carpet for hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to turn out for the 43rd Annual Third Avenue Festival, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Bay Ridge Avenue to 94th Street.

The parade is sponsored every year by the non-profit group Ragamuffin Inc. “Our children deserve the very best. We celebrate our children,” Ragamuffin Inc. President Colleen Golden said at a recent ceremony at which the corner of Third Avenue and 74th Street was officially co-named “Ragamuffin Way” by the city.

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Contained within the parade is a costume contest. A panel of judges will decide which children are wearing the most creative costumes and will award prizes.

In honor of the half-century milestone, Ragamuffin Inc. has decided that instead of honoring a grand marshal and a Person of the Year, as the group typically does, the organization will honor all past grand marshals and Persons of the Year.

The first Ragamuffin Parade took place in 1966.

The parade came about because of the foresight of two men, the Rev. James McKenna, a priest at Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church at 7320 Fourth Ave., and Cliff Scanlon, a Bay Ridge civic leader who was a parishioner of the church.

Both men were eager to take the Bay Ridge community’s mind off the incessant drumbeat of crime that was in the headlines during turbulent Vietnam-era 1960s and hold a joyful event where families could get together and kids could have fun.

The first parade took place on Fourth Avenue. The children marched along the avenue from 67th Street to Bay Ridge Parkway, passing Our Lady of Angels along the way.

By 1967, the parade’s second year, the event expanded beyond Our Lady of Angels Church to include the whole neighborhood.

On Oct. 2, the Third Avenue Festival, a 25-block-long street fair with rides, games, concerts, dance performances, outdoor cafes, fashion shows, sidewalk sales and more, will take place.

The festival is sponsored by the Merchants of Third Avenue, a business organization representing hundreds of store owners on the avenue. Third Avenue is one of the busiest shopping thoroughfares in Brooklyn.

The festival provides a great opportunity for store owners to meet new customers and present their shops in a positive light, according to leaders of the Merchants.

There will be sidewalk cafes on nearly every block on festival day and visitors can take a trip around the world via their culinary tastes. Restaurants will be serving Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Middle Eastern and other dishes. 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 entertainers will include members of the Narrows Community Theater, who will be singing show tunes outside the Salty Dog near Bay Ridge Parkway; heavy metal band ANAKA, which will rock the festival outside Catch-22 near 73rd Street; and Frankie Marra, who will be singing in front of the Greenhouse Café on 77th Street.

There will also be a fashion show presented outside of the Brooklyn Market on 81st Street presented by Wicked Threads.


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