Ragamuffin Parade, 3rd Ave. Festival expected to draw thousands

It’s the biggest weekend in Bay Ridge and one of the biggest in all of Brooklyn. And it’s almost here!
 
Excitement is building for the 46th Annual Ragamuffin Parade for children on Saturday, Sept. 29, and the 38th Annual Third Avenue Festival on Sunday, Sept. 30, the two events which are the bookends of a fabulous weekend for families.
 
The two events, which are both held on Third Avenue, are expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Bay Ridge shopping thoroughfare, according to organizers.
 
First up is the Ragamuffin Parade, one of Bay Ridge’s most beloved traditions. The parade features thousands of children, from pre-kindergarten tykes to trendy teenagers, marching up Third Avenue wearing colorful, cleverly designed, homemade costumes and accessories. There are no store-bought costumes here! The outfits worn by the marchers spring from the imaginations of the children and their parents. Last year, one little boy came dressed as a kitchen table, complete with a meal on the table and a table cloth! There were also a lot of little Lady Gagas in the parade.
 
“There’s nothing better than seeing the smiles on the children’s faces as they march,” Colleen Golden, president of Ragamuffin Inc., the parade sponsor, said at a recent luncheon the organization held.
 
The parade kicks off at 1 p.m. The route begins at 76th Street and the participants march to 92nd Street. The grand marshal of this year’s parade is Arlene Figaro, principal of Visitation Academy, a girls’ Catholic elementary school on Ridge Boulevard. The Ragamuffin Man of the Year is John Abi-Habib, president and C.E.O. of MSI Net. Inc., a computer and technology company on 86th Street in Bay Ridge.Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge) holding her pet dog Peanut, is hosting a pet adoption fair to find homes for stray animals at the Third Avenue Festival on Sept. 30. Photo Courtesy of Nicole Malliotakis’s Office.
 
Figaro, Abi-Habib, and the children will be accompanied by marching bands, parade floats, and dancing troupes.
 
The following day, Third Avenue will again roll out the red carpet for visitors. The Third Avenue Festival will take place on the avenue, between 69th and 94th Streets, from noon to 6 p.m. Sponsored by the Merchants of Third Avenue, a group representing store owners on the avenue, the festival is a street fair extraordinaire!
 
If you love music, you’ll be in luck. The festival route will have concert stages where singers and dancers will entertain the crowds all day long. If you love food, you’re also in for a great time. Restaurant owners on the avenue will be setting up sidewalk cafes for you to sit back, relax, and enjoy delicious cuisine. Third Avenue boasts and international array of restaurants, including Italian, French, Mexican, Indian, and Greek.
 
And of course, there’s always cotton candy! Vendors along the festival route will be selling all sorts of treats, including crepes, corn on the cob, sausage sandwiches, and more.
 
There will be lots of carnival games and rides, including pony rides, for children. Adults can find great bargains at the many sidewalk sales that will be set up along the festival route.
 
A custom car and motorcycle show will take place on the 6900 block. Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge) is sponsoring a pet adoption fair on the 7300 block. “We’re hoping to find homes for these pets,” she said. A concert stage on the 7700 block will feature performances from Frankie Marra & His Band, Radio Daze, and High Tides, among other groups. Another concert stage, on the 8100 block, will be sponsored by state Sen. Marty Golden and will feature such popular local groups as Social Zoo and Prodigal Child.
 
Dancers from the studio Beyond Dance will perform on the 8700 block.
 
The Police Department will set up a command center on 86th Street. There will be two first aid stations, one at 75th Street and the other at 86th Street.
 
The two-day extravaganza of fun begins Saturday at 1 p.m.!