Preparations for the 40th Annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade are progressing.
Parade organizers announced the grand marshal and honorary grand marshal for the annual celebration of community and Italian pride.
When the parade steps off this year at noon on Sunday, October 9 and marches along Morris Park Avenue from White Plains to Williamsbridge roads, real estate developer and philanthropist Richard Naclerio will be honored as its grand marshal.
Naclerio served as CEO and president of Naclerio Contracting Corporation, an infrastructure company, and of RAN Consulting Corporation, a mortgage brokerage.
His education-directed philanthropy includes an endowed professorship at Villanova University School and a host of other programs, including one for elementary school-age children.
He was originally from Allerton and Pelham Gardens; he attended P.S. 89, P.S. 108 and Columbus High School.
He indicated that his Italian-American heritage shaped his character.
“It instilled in me the belief in doing what is best for yourself most of the time, but for others all of the time,” he said about his heritage.
Naclerio has strong ties to the borough, having served as a former trustee to Calvary Hospital and Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center, as well as on the board of the Bronx Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
He is also a past member of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of the Bronx.
Parade coordinator Tony Signorile said that Naclerio was chosen because he has been a friend of the Morris Park community.
The honorary grand marshal this year will be Joanne Rubino, a retired teacher and Community Board 11 member, said Signorile.
Rubino is active with the Forum of Italian American Educators, and has served on that group’s executive board
The coordinator explained that the parade costs between costs $60,000 to $80,000 to put on every year, and corporate partnerships are one of the primary ways the parade succeeds, along with help from local elected officials.
The parade itself is expected to be better than ever this year, said Signorile.
“For our 40th anniversary, as of now, we have 18 bands,” he said, adding that the parade pays to have the bands attend. “One of the bands is coming from Italy.”
The parade remains the second largest in the state after Manhattan’s, with marches and performers coming not just from local community groups and organizations, but from all over the metropolitan area, and this year, Italy, said Signorile.
“I attribute our success to carrying on the tradition and culture of what it is to be Italian,” he said.
The parade has continued to serve not only Italian-Americans but also the demographic melting pot that makes up the borough, he said, adding “this parade is for everyone.”
The parade’s annual dinner dance will take place this year on Friday, September 30 at Maestro’s Caterers at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call Chris Alessandro at (914) 582-1913.