The 39th Annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade is set for Sunday, October 11, a day before the official holiday honoring the great Italian explorer.
Parade volunteers expect the event to go off without a hitch, starting on Morris Park Avenue at White Plains Road at noon, marching on Morris Park Avenue to Williamsbridge Road.
A red, white and green line has been painted on the median of Morris Park Avenue that is part of the parade route, said parade coordinator Tony Signorile, and Italian flags will also be hung across the avenue and on utility poles for the event.
“The community is excited; they look forward to this event every year,” said Signorile.
“I feel that our children should grow up with (the parade) to know their culture, know their roots and to continue the tradition,” said the parade coordinator.
The Morris Park Community Association hosts the event. Signorile is president of the MPCA.
The Bronx Columbus Day Parade also serves as a day that allows people to reconnect with the Morris Park community, even if they have moved away, he said.
“I am happy to bring back people who were born and raised in this community, and then unfortunately, moved away,” he said.
“For me it is an honor to bring them back for this event once a year; they look forward to the parade and seeing family members and friends.”
After the parade, there will be a Doo-Wop concert in Loreto Park at 5:30 p.m., with music by the Gio Venuto Band, he said.
The parade itself features 15 marching bands, a variety of community groups marching, as well as schools from Morris Park, Throggs Neck and Westchester County, Signorile added.
The grand marshal is labor leader Mario Cilento, president New York State AFL-CIO, who grew up in Morris Park on Williamsbridge Road.
“He is responsible for 2.5 million members,” said Signorile of Cilento. “Mr. Cilento believes in education, as I do, and providing our children with better education.”
Josephine Fanelli, principal of St. Theresa School, was honored for her commitment to children and education, he said.
Local businessperson Joseph Lucchese, owner of Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home in Morris Park, is being honored for his community service.
The 2015 Miss Columbus is Bianca Mastropietro, an athlete and scholar who will use a scholarship she received from of the Generoso Pope Foundation, on behalf of the parade committee, to further both her atheleticim and her studies, said Signorile.
“We have individuals here who make a difference in our community,” said the parade organizer of these honorees.
In an interview just days before the parade, Fanelli said that she was very excited about the upcoming event.
“I hope that the day is filled with warmth and sunshine,” she said, adding “I hope a lot of people come out to show their Italian pride and their pride in the Bronx.”