Mother Nature couldn’t rain on one of Brooklyn’s most popular parades. It was a sea of green, white and red on Saturday, October 11, as the Federation of Italian-American Organizations (FIAO) held its 33rd Annual Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade.
The festivities started with morning Mass at St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church. Then, despite the wet weather causing lower attendance than in years past, the celebration began at 1 p.m. on 60th Street and 18th Avenue.
This year’s parade included four grand marshals: Councilmember Vincent Gentile, Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, Assemblymember William Colton and Regina Scire of Investors Bank. The honorees were chosen because of their service within the community and acting as positive role models for the youth, according to FIAO.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to have been selected by the FIAO to be one of the grand marshals for the 33rd Annual Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade,” said Colton. “I credit my grandparents who immigrated to this great country from Naples in the early 1900s for providing me with the faith, the moral values and the traditions which makes this possible. My Italian heritage is important to me, as I work to serve and fight for the people of southwest Brooklyn.”
Local dignitaries such as Councilmember Mark Treyger, Assemblymembers Peter Abbate and Alex Brook-Krasny, State Senator Martin Golden, Congressmember Michael Grimm and Assembly District Leader Nancy Tong were all in attendance and marched in Brooklyn’s traditional parade.
The parade also catered to children. Schools and Scout troops from all over the borough took part in the event, proudly holding up their school banners, with some providing live band performances.
Once the march and ceremony concluded, the first Cannoli eating contest was held outside FIAO’s new Italian American Cultural Center, Il Centro, located at 18th and Benson Avenues.