Morris Park Avenue will bathe in a sea of red, white, and green when the 2011 Bronx Columbus Day Parade steps off from White Plains Road on Sunday, October 9 at noon.
The parade this year is expected to be larger than last year, with three bands, and six floats, in addition to the numerous participating community groups and schools, said parade coordinator Tony Signorile.
“The floats are terrific, and the Generoso Pope Foundation and the Columbus Citizens Foundation are both sending floats,” Signorile said. “I have developed a partnership with these organizations over the past two years.”
The grand marshal for this year’s parade is Dr. Joseph Scelsa, boasts an extraordinary academic and professional record. Scelsa said that this honor is especially heartwarming because he grew up in Morris Park.
“First of all I am very excited to have been selected as grand marshal and am looking forward to the parade,” Scelsa said. “To be honored in the neighborhood where I grew up is very special and means a lot to me. I have been honored many times in academic circles, and by many community organizations and even nationally, but this is like your family acknowledging you.”
Scelsa is the founder and president of the Italian American Museum and is professor emeritus at C.U.N.Y. Queens College. He is a graduate of Salesian High School in New Rochelle, and received his bachelors’ degree from Long Island University, a masters degree from Lehman College and a doctorate from Teachers College at Columbia University.
Scelsa symbolized for the parade panel what can be accomplished when you combine a love of one’s culture with a love for education, Signorile said. Scelsa successfully sued C.U.N.Y. in the 1970s for not hiring enough Italian American professors, and that successful action paved the way for change for the better, Councilman Jimmy Vacca said.
“This parade represents to me a recognition of the contribution that Italian Americans have made to this community and country,” Vacca said.
The parade draws viewers from all over his district, including Throggs Neck, Morris Park, and Pelham Bay.
The honorary grand marshal for this year’s parade is Brandon Muccino, an assistant principal for the third and fourth grade at P.S. 83. Miss Columbus is Loredana Calce, who was crowned at the parade dinner dance on Friday, September 23. She will be receiving a $10,000 college scholarship from the Generoso Pope Foundation, Signorile said.
In addition to local elected officials, who are all expected to be in attendance and who have all made significant monetary contributions to the campaign, Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Italian Counsel Laura Aguliera are expected, Signorile stated.
Senator Klein is expected to once again have his “canolli cart,” distributing free canolli during the parade.