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December 26, 2013

Restaurateurs to serve as parade marshals

Two generations of an Oneonta restaurant family will be grand marshals for Oneonta’s First Night Parade, an organizer said.

Joe Ruffino and Joe Ruffino Jr., from the family-run Joe Ruffino’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, will be leading the parade, which starts at 5 p.m. Dec. 31 on Grand Street, said David Hayes, a member of the First Night board of directors.

“We reached out to community leaders, and the two were the top choice of about a dozen people,” Hayes said. Through their hard work, dedication to downtown and community involvement, “they are the embodiment of all that is good about Oneonta.”

Ruffino Jr. said Wednesday that the recognition was very “humbling.” With so many other choices, “I was very honored the two of us were picked,” he said.

The business is in its 42nd year.

Hayes said although there are a couple of dozen entries in the parade, “we are still looking for more,” he said. “We’d like this to be a nice, big, robust and fun parade.”

Lineup for the parade starts at 4 p.m. Anyone wanting to participate can call Hayes at 353-9000, or show up the day of the parade, he said.

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