The less than ideal weather didn’t stop a storied Bensonhurst tradition from marching strong.
The 35th Annual Brooklyn Columbus Parade kicked off on Saturday, October 8 along 18th Avenue (a.k.a. Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard). The family-friendly Bensonhurst favorite started off at 61st Street just past 1 p.m.
“The 18th Avenue Columbus Day Parade is a bona fide Brooklyn tradition,” said Assemblymember Peter Abbate. “As a proud Italian-American, this celebration of our culture and the community is an important way to bring us all together. This year’s parade was another slam dunk. It was great to see the schools, youth groups, social clubs and businesses celebrate their heritage and showcase what makes the communities of South Brooklyn so exceptional.”
The parade’s grand marshals chosen by the Federation of Italian-American Organizations (FIAO) and introduced during a brunch earlier this month were State Senator Diane Savino, Assemblymember Pamela Harris, Nicholas Caiazzo Esq. and Thomas Sorrentino CPA.
Savino was thankful to be an honoree. “A big thanks to all of those that braved the impending rain as the weather held out just long enough for another successful Columbus Day Parade down 18th Ave in Brooklyn,” she stated on Facebook. “(It was) a job well done by the Federation of Italian American Organizations, and all the performances by the students and groups. Thank you to the 62nd Precinct and CERT for all your assistance today, and everyone else who played a part in (the day’s) success.”
Other local dignitaries also marched the annual parade.
“I am always extremely proud to march in the annual Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “One of our community’s most popular events and stronger than ever in its 35th year, we must remember who we are honoring when we march down 18th avenue: an adventurer who discovered the New World and by doing so changed the course of world history. Thank you to FIAO, Brooklyn Chamber CEO Carlo Scissura, and parade organizers for another great parade this year.”
Assemblymember William Colton, together with District Leader Nancy Tong, celebrated the great tradition of bringing to the parade over 100 volunteers from such schools as Midwood, Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant to participate. “I am glad to bring to the parade this diverse group of young people, many of whom have been part of the neighborhood clean-up,” Colton said. “This is no better way to celebrate the great tradition of Columbus Day than spreading its spirit to our youth.”
It all ended at FIAO’s Italian-American community center, Il Centro, near Benson Avenue. The parade was preceded by a celebratory Mass at 10:15 a.m. at St. Athanasius Church and was followed by a reception.