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Bay Ridge Ragamuffin Parade

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It’s the one day of the year kids are encouraged to play in the street.

Thousands of children and kids at heart marched in Bay Ridge’s Ragamuffin parade on Sept. 28. For many in the neighborhood, the 48-year-old munchkin march is a time-honored pre-Halloween affair.

“It’s a family tradition,” said Carina Amendolara, who has marched in 20 Ragamuffin parades as a kid and now as a parent. “I went with my mom and my family. Now every year I take my children. This is the first year we won.”

Amendolara’s two kids and two of their friends won Best Group Costume for dressing up as characters from “Grease” and piloting a pint-sized replica of the movie’s famous car. The kids won a cash prize that Amendolara will use to fund next year’s endeavor, she said.

For their costumes, many stuck with movie themes and superheroes, but others went in a cheekier direction.

“Wanted something really irreverent — Batman and Robbin wasn’t going to do,” said AnnMarie Donlon, whose dressed her son Lucas as a blackjack dealer and affixed a velvet table with cards, chips, and cash to the 1-year-old’s stroller. The cards were in Donlon’s favor, and Lucas won a bike for his brazen duds.

The 48-year-old parade started in 1967 when Father George McKenna of Our Lady of Angels and Ridgeite Cliff Scanlon rounded up neighborhood kids and put on a parade. The inaugural tykes donned their parents’ baggy clothes, giving them the shabby appearance of a ragamuffin — a street urchin in ill-fitting attire.

Donlon remembers marching in the parade as a youngster, and over the last 48 years, the event has only changed in one way, she said.

“It’s just gotten bigger — I couldn’t believe the amount of people just marching and marching and marching.”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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