PHOTOS | Without a hitch, Columbus Day parade puts Morris Park’s pageantry on full display

After the Bronx Columbus Day Parade in Morris Park was a carnival, located in Loretto Park, where children played in bouncy castles, enjoyed various games and more. Parade Grand Marshal Michael Benedetto was shocked at the magnitude of this year’s turnout. “This is a tradition in Morris Park, and in the Bronx, ” said Benedetto. “I’m thinking it must be at least 50 years now that they’ve been doing this and it just gets better and better.”
Photo Pamela Rozon
Italians from all over the city gathered at the Bronx Columbus Day Parade in Morris Park on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. The famed explorer, Christopher Columbus, is considered by many who attended the parade as a symbol of Italian pride. “Being an Italian American is also about celebrating community, celebrating one another, focusing on not the issues that divide us, but the ones that bring us closer together,” said state Assembly Member John Zaccaro Jr. “ Today’s events are just a step in that direction, bringing people closer together to celebrate community, to celebrate fun, to bring kids and families together.” Photo Pamela Rozon
Italian Assembly Member Michael Benedetto was appointed as grand marshal for this year’s iteration of the parade. “After so many years of service, it’s always nice to be recognized by your peers, by your friends for the things you have done, and I’m humbled by it,” said Benedetto, who added that out of all the years he has attended the Columbus Day parade, this year’s rendition was the most successful one yet. Photo Pamela Rozon
Miss Columbus, Brianna Rachiele, waves and smiles at onlookers at the Columbus Day parade in the Morris Park section of the Bronx. A high school senior of Italian heritage, she was awarded the coveted distinction and customary red, white and green sash. Rachiele said she feels a strong connection to the parade. “I used to walk in the parade since I was in early childhood. So now that I’m graduating high school, I’m a senior, and I’m Miss Columbus, it’s like a full circle moment,” she said. Photo Pamela Rozon
The School of Martial Arts demonstrated various karate moves to onlookers of the Columbus Day parade. The parade featured various other performances, such as dancing and music by local schools and organizations. Parade Grand Marshal Michael Benedetto said, “There were hundreds of people out there on the street. I was awed by it all. People cheering, people enjoying themselves.” Photo Pamela Rozon
The parade featured many groups, such as the Department of Fools, Bond Street Theatre, Five Boroughs Brass and Street Beat Brass. “It was a really good opportunity for the community to come out and celebrate, and very successful,” said state Assembly Member John Zaccaro Jr. “We had a lot of people, we had a lot of participation, all local folks, which is really exciting to see all schools and businesses and organizations coming together to celebrate.” Photo Pamela Rozon
Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson watched in awe alongside Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and state Assembly Member Michael Benedetto, the parade’s grand marshal, as each parade float and school group performed a special routine along the parade route. In Gibson’s remarks, she expressed her appreciation toward the organizers of the event and announces that the parade is also a celebration of Italian Heritage. “We are here to celebrate Italian American Heritage Month and to say thank you for your contributions,” Gibson said. Photo Pamela Rozon
Morris Park’s Columbus Day parade brought thousands out to the Bronx. The parade, which first kicked off in 1977, has continued to be one beloved by area residents. Dr. Michael Perretta, who attended the parade this year, said, “We’ve been celebrating Columbus Day for the same amount of time since it started about 40 years ago. And we’re very proud to be sponsors and to be supporters of the Bronx Columbus Day Parade.” Photo Pamela Rozon
School cheerleaders and bands perform in front of the community and near the Columbus Day parade’s grandstand. “I went to the parade last year, this one though, from what I can see, has doubled in size and in participation,” said state Assembly Member John Zaccaro Jr. Photo Pamela Rozon
The Columbus Day parade was considered a success by all who attended, with streets filled with wide smiles and applause. The parade ended with a carnival located at Loreto Park, which provided free food, games and face paintings for all. Photo Pamela Rozon
The parade featured performances by many neighboring Bronx schools, including as All-City High School, St. Raymond Academy, MS 498 and St. Catherine Academy. Parade organizer Al D’Angelo said he is proud of how successful the event was. “I think it was one of the better parades we’ve ever had. I think we had a great turnout. The committee did an outstanding job putting this together and I can’t thank them enough,” said D’Angelo, who also serves as president of the Morris Park Community Association. Photo Pamela Rozon
At the Columbus Day Parade, Italian flags decorated each float, with onlookers cheering on from the stands. Many Italians from the neighborhood felt that the parade also celebrated their culture. “A part of it is Italian pride and the fact that Christopher Columbus was hailed from Italy,” said attendee Dr. Michael Perretta. Photo Pamela Rozon

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