By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Thousands of children let their imaginations take hold and marched up Third Avenue in Bay Ridge dressed in colorful, creative and sometimes wacky, homemade costumes as part of the 47th Annual Ragamuffin Parade on Saturday.
The parade, a beloved tradition in Bay Ridge, is held every year a few weeks before Halloween to give kids a chance to enjoy the spotlight. The march is sponsored by the non-profit group Ragamuffin Inc., led by Colleen Golden.
The children, along with their parents and teachers, proudly marched up the avenue from 76th Street to 92nd Street, accompanied by marching bands and dancing troupes, to the cheers of spectators lining the 16-block parade route.
Tim Li came dressed as a police officer. Nicolette Daus reached back into history for her costume and marched as Cleopatra. Sean and Gianna Solitario rode the parade route in an ice cream truck fashioned out of cardboard. Aniva Jarah and her son James brought to life the old advertising slogan “Things go better with Coca Cola,” and decorated themselves with coke cans. Christina Croce, who came to the parade with her grandmother, Mary Ann Walsh, was an angel.
Maya LaCroix thought outside the box to come up with a costume that put her inside the box, literally. She marched as a Red Box movie rental and won a prize for best costume. Another prizewinner, Luka Puglisi, was rewarded for his imaginative costume in which he appeared to be riding in a hot air balloon. Daniela Vazquez won a best costume prize for her Bride of Frankenstein attire, complete with shocking hair that had a lightning bolt running through it.
Children came dressed as Captain America, circus clowns, dogs, cats, princesses, lions, tigers, bears, firefighters, astronauts, Spiderman and even prison inmates. The best costume winners, who were selected by a panel of anonymous judges, received bicycles.
The parade was led by the grand marshal, District 20 School Superintendent Karina Costantino, and Ragamuffin’s person of the year, singer Frankie Marra.
When Constantino and Marra reached the reviewing stand at 90th Street, they were able to stop marching, sit on the dais, and enjoy the rest of the parade. At one point, students from PS 186, a District 20 school, stood in front of the reviewing stand and serenaded Constantino with a medley from “Anything Goes,” her favorite musical.
Peter Clavin served as master of ceremonies at the reviewing stand, offering a running commentary on the kids and their costumes. When he spotted the children dressed in prison stripes riding in a wagon with bars, he shouted, “I hope you get out of jail soon!”
The parade had bagpipers and marching bands. The Fort Hamilton High School Band was a big hit at the reviewing stand.