It’s that time of year for everyone to be Italian for the day!
The annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade is set to step off at noon on Sunday, October 7, with thousands expected to line Morris Park Avenue.
But before throngs cheer on their Italian neighbors, organizers are throwing a fundraiser featuring fine Italian eats.
The parade’s Dinner Dance is set for Sunday, September 30 at Maestro’s Catering on Unionport Road.
For $85 Bronxites will step into the world of fine Italian cuisine, ranging from freshly-made mozzarella to delicious sweets at the Venetian hour. In the background, guests will hear Neil Diamond’s “Coming to America”, a symbol of unity for immigrants.
“I play that CD just to remind everybody that we are all one in this country,” said lead organizer Tony Signorile. “We all came to this country for the same reason.”
A crown for the parade queen
Special guests include her highness, Miss Bronx Columbus, known to many as Christina Iannarino of Throggs Neck. Signorile plans to officially crown the 16-year-old, who will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Generoso Pope Foundation, one of the heavy financial backers for the parade.
An independent panel vetted Iannarino, a Preston High School junior with dreams of entering the field of medicine.
Grand Marshal Phil Foglia and Honorary Marshal Patricia Cassano will also be recognized.
Local restauranteur Joseph Giordano, owner of Riviera Ravioli on Arthur Avenue, will be honored with the Citizen Award for his contributions to the neighborhood.
“He does a lot for the community,” said Signorile. “He’s always there.”
Signorile’s journey in organizing New York State’s 2nd largest Columbus Day parade proved just as treacherous as Christopher Columbus’ journey to the undiscovered country.
“To be number two is getting harder and harder,” admitted Signorile.
Putting it all together
Leading the effort for the past seven years, Signorile’s been working the phones even as he balances a full-time job in Westchester.
Coordinating marching bands is often the toughest aspect of the parade, according to Signorile, mainly since the bands are committed to other parades.
Signorile, a native of Italy, boasts his heritage proudly. The longtime Morris Park resident immigrated to the states when he was 12, settling in Arthur Avenue.
“Italians have provided a lot to the world,” said Signorile, a fond lover of Italian artists Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci.
On top of four floats committed to the parade, NYPD bagpipers along with 16 music bands will lay the soundtrack for the parade.
The Bronx Trolley, a throwback to the days of pre-1930s travel, will also snail along Morris Park Avenue.
The Dinner Dance will run from run from 4 p.m. to 9p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $85.
The parade steps off at noon from Morris Park Avenue and White Plains Road, and marches to a reviewing stand at Williamsbridge Road.
Prior to the parade, there will be a mass and a parade breakfast for the marchers sponsored by Mary Queen of Peace Council of the Knights of Columbus at St. Dominic Church.
Additional reporting by Patrick Rocchio
Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or email@example.com.David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383