The winner of this year’s Miss Columbus title was announced for the borough’s upcoming parade honoring Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.
The 42nd Annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade will march along Morris Park Avenue at noon on Sunday, October 7.
Prior to the parade there will be a 10 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of Solace – St. Dominic’s, with coffee and a light breakfast afterwards for honorees and marchers sponsored by Councilman Mark Gjonaj, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez, said Al D’Angelo, Morris Park Community Association president.
The parade starts at White Plains Road, with a reviewing stand at Williamsbridge Road.
This year’s grand marshal is Christopher Mastromano, Jacobi Medical Center CEO, and its honorary grand marshal is educator Carl Vinci, who ran an enrichment program that many of the Morris Park schoolchildren and those in nearby communities took part in.
Gina Dinicuolo of Pelham Parkway was crowned Miss Columbus for this year’s parade.
Dinicuolo was selected by a group of three educators from a group of semi-finalists recently.
In addition to the honor of being 2018’s Miss Columbus, she will also be receiving a scholarship from the Generoso Pope Foundation.
“Ever since I was little, I always walked in the Columbus Day Parade with my elementary school and I saw the princess on top of the float and always dreamed it could be me,” said the 16-year-old Preston High School senior.
The young lady said her Italian teacher encouraged her to apply for the Miss Columbus scholarship, and she wrote essays and eventually had an interview before she was chosen from a group of semi-finalists.
She said like many Italian-American families, her family is very close to each other.
“I’m very proud to be Italian because our family is so bonded together and we have many traditions that we share,” said Dinicuolo.
This year’s Miss Columbus said she is really determined to become a nurse and focus on the medical field.
She hopes to attend Pace University or St. John’s University, and would like to see a sunny day and a big crowd at this year’s parade.
The Morris Park Community Association hosts the parade, and the festive day’s coordinator Chris Alessandro said that this year’s parade promises to be one of the larger ones in recent memory.
The parade honorees will ride the route in convertibles, weather permitting, said Alessandro.
Italy’s Consul General Francesco Genuardi will attend the parade with his wife and two children, said Alessandro.
Some 18 bands are expected, including some first timers like the Danbury Drum Corps, said Alessandro.
As of press time, at least 23 schools and community groups will also be marching, said Alessandro. He expects that number to grow.
In the days leading up to the parade, banners were strung over Morris Park Avenue, Italian flags were to be hung along the route, and a 30-foot Italian flag will be painted near the reviewing stand, said Alessandro.
Alessandro said that the parade affords an opportunity for friends and family to get together, and for old friends to come back to the neighborhood for a visit.
“I just want a good day with everyone enjoying themselves,” said Alessandro, adding that he was praying for good weather.
The parade’s major sponsors this year are Hutchinson Metro Center, Con Edison, Big Deal Supermarket, Italy AF Auto Repair and Citibank, said Alessandro.
Funding for the beloved community event was also provided by local businesses in Morris Park, as well as the area’s elected officials, he said.