Ridgites, ragamuffins herald autumn with Third Avenue celebrations

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Mini-chlorians: The Force was with marchers who dressed as characters from Star Wars.
Rain song: The Fort Hamilton High School marching band brightens up the cloudy day.
Raindow coalition: A Transformer, the Phantom of the Opera, and a gingherbread woman march in solidarity wth PS 102.
Man on the inside: If parade-goers wanted a plush toy, Sean Solitario and his claw machine costume were the place to turn.
Mastermind: Mackenzie Nastro had an easy march — her “Minions”-themed costume shouldered most of the burden.
Skin and bones: Xavier Walker looks like a skeleton after getting his face apinted during the Third Avenue Festival on Oct. 4 — good thing there was plenty to eat at the more-than-20-block-long fair.
Showing her stripes: Kayla “Roarin’” Rodriguez fiercely enjoys her tiger face paint.
Sweety motion: Jessica Cara dances with the cotton candy man.
Bull by the horns: Nada Farrad white-knuckles a mechanical bull as it tried to buck her.
Street fighting band: Rolling Stones cover act Sha’Doobie was one of several bands that performed along the avenue.

Ridgites welcomed in fall with local flair over the weekend.

Two annual mainstays ushered in the unofficial start of autumn in Bay Ridge on Oct. 3 and 4.

First, hundreds of kids and youthful adults put on their best get-ups and took to Third Avenue for the 49th-annual Ragamuffin Parade on Oct. 3.

Ridgite Sean Solitario clinched the costume competition dressed as an arcade claw machine. Apparently, life imitates art for Solitario, who sat surrounded by prizes in the boxy costume — he’s won the competition four years in a row and taken home a new bicycle each time. Rather than horde his prizes over the years, the youth has found new homes for the bikes, his grandmother said.

“We’ve donated or sold them in the past, but this one he really likes because it has pegs on it,” said grandmother Marianne Fezza.

It may be no surprise that Solitario sweeps the award — he’s a third-generation Ragamuffin, on his mother’s side, the grandma said.

“We’ve been doing the Ragamuffin Parade for years and years, and we try to outdo ourselves every year,” said Fezza, who marched in the parade in its early years herself. “We’ve probably won, over the years, nine or ten times.”

Then on Sunday, Ridgites once again hit the streets for the Third Avenue Festival, when the corridor turned into a grand concourse of local delights. Avenue merchants set up tables outdoors, denizens dined al fresco, and local bands rocked out street-side during the fete, which stretched from Bay Ridge Avenue to 92nd Street.

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