The 40th Annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade is set to step off at noon this Sunday on Morris Park Avenue.
The parade will march along Morris Park Avenue between White Plains and Williamsbridge roads on Sunday, October 9, and will feature 21 bands, as well as numerous community and cultural organizations, said Tony Signorile, parade coordinator.
The 2016 Bronx Miss Columbus, Deanna Falciglia, was recently selected by a committee of educators to be honored, said Signorile.
She joins the grand marshal, real estate developer and philanthropist Richard Naclerio, honorary grand marshal Joanne Rubino, a former guidance counselor and Community Board 11 leader and John Cerini, owner of Bronx Taxman as honorees during the parade.
This year’s Miss Columbus said she was inspired to apply to the competition after seeing a good friend, Bianca Mastropietro, crowned before the 2015 parade.
“Overall, I am proud to be representing Italian Americans in the Bronx,” said Falciglia, adding, “It is amazing to me,” about being selected.
Falciglia said that a guidance counselor at Cardinal Spellman High School, where she is a senior and a member of the varsity softball team, encouraged her and several young women to apply.
She then completed an application process that included writing essays and documenting four generations in a family genealogy, and being interviewed.
She said that she was thrilled to have been chosen from the three finalists ultimately selected by a committee of educators who make the decision each year.
Falciglia told the judges that she believes that Miss Columbus should be an active member of the community.
“I feel that Miss Columbus should be in the local community, and being that I live in Morris Park and play softball, I would like to do a softball clinic in the park (for youth),” she said, adding that she will be partnering with Signorile on this effort.
Falciglia has played on the varsity team at Spellman since her freshman year, where she is a catcher and a shortstop, and also plays third base with Diamond Dolls Fastpitch, a traveling softball club that her father founded when she was eight-years-old, she said.
This year’s Miss Columbus has committed to playing softball at St. Leo University in St. Leo, Florida, which she said excites her because she like the ‘Sunshine State’.
The high school senior said that as of now she plans on minoring in engineering, and has yet to decide on a major, but that it could be mathematics or accounting.
Signorile said that he is pleased to hear that Falciglia wants to help with local youth, and is grateful to work with her while she is still in New York.
Miss Columbus will receive a scholarship from the Generoso Pope Foundation.
As for the event planning, Signorile said that the parade is the largest it has been, and will feature a marching band from Italy and the Consulate General of Italy.
“It is definitely the second largest Columbus parade in New York city and state,” he said, adding that he is praying for good weather.
As far as the parade committee goes, the event will go on rain or shine, said Signorile.
There will be a concert for the public after the parade at Loreto Park at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.