The Ragamuffin Parade — a classic costumed kiddie cavalcade — got bright sunny skies for its 47th run on Oct. 5, but the 40th annual Third Avenue Festival the next day wasn’t so lucky.
Parade organizers credited a cooperative climate for several thousand kids coming out in full Halloween gear to march from 76th to 92nd streets — the largest number in years.
“It was the biggest parade in recent memory,” said Ted General, a member of the parade committee. “We were pleasantly surprised at the turnout.”
The tradition has come a long way since the late Rev. James McKenna suggested Bay Ridge kids dress up in their parents’ old clothes and circle the block of Our Lady of Angels Church at the corner of 73rd Street and Fourth Avenue. General attributed much of the growth to the involvement of officials at local public and private schools — such as Community Education Council District 20 superintendent Karina Constantino, who oversees learning institutions in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights and served as the parade’s grand marshal.
Also heading up the procession was the committee’s selected “Man of the Year” Frankie Marra, a local musician known for his work with the Memorial Day and Saint Patrick’s Day parades.
“He’s a very popular guy, it was a no-brainer,” said General.
Marra’s band was one of 14 that performed at the Third Avenue Festival the next day — but under unfriendlier skies. The day was misty and damp — which depressed the turnout along the stretch between 69th and 93rd streets, according to organizers.
“People didn’t seem happy, it was kind of a dismal day,” said head marshal Chip “Festival Guy” Cafiero.
Still, Cafiero said the food and fun were fantastic, with merchants putting their finest fare on the street, and dance and gymnastic companies performing outdoors.
“Everything was great but the weather,” said Cafiero.