It was a cause for celebration as the Federation of Italian Americans (FIAO) geared up for its 34th Annual Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade – to be held on Saturday, October 10 – at the yearly Brooklyn Columbus Day Brunch.
The gathering – held this year on Sunday, October 4 at Dyker Beach Golf Course, 1030 86th Street – also served as a platform to honor a new class of grand marshals, including Justice Patricia DiMango (star of CBS’s “Hot Bench”), Cavaliere Joseph Bova and Biagio Madaio (vice president and business development officer of Investors Bank), as well as to raise funds for the family-friendly tradition.
Jack Spatola, chairperson of FIAO, noted that the parade and brunch provide, “not only a celebration of culture, but also an opportunity for us to recognize very outstanding exponents of the community who also happen to be Italian-American. All three are incredible role models, inspirational for all of us and particularly younger people.”
“I am very proud to be an Italian-American,” said DiMango, a Bensonhurst native herself. “My heritage, in substantial part, defines me, so it’s important to all of us, of Italian-American decent, that we celebrate the richness, warmth and the beauty of our culture, and that we do so publicly.
“The Columbus Day Parade is one of the many ways we foster that pride,” she went on, “and so I am honored and excited to be selected by the FIAO as grand marshal along with my two outstanding co-grand marshals, and to do so in the community in which I grew up.”
The parade, complete with floats and local bands, will follow its usual route along 18th Avenue (a.k.a. Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard), kicking off at 1 p.m. from 61st Street and ending at FIAO’s Italian-American community center, Il Centro near Benson Avenue.
“Everybody is looking forward to a beautiful day,” noted Spatola, who said the event was all about, “having a good time with good people around.” Of particular note, he stressed, is the local nature of the event. “We are lucky to have truly a community activity. It’s great to keep the community alive with very positive and rewarding festivities.”