FIAO celebrates Columbus Day with virtual parade

The show went on.

Despite the cancellation of Columbus Day events around the city due to COVID-19, the Federation of Italian-American Organizations of Brooklyn found a way to mark the occasion.

On Saturday, FIAO hosted its first virtual 3 Brooklyn Columbus Parade at the Il Centro Italian-American Cultural Center, 8711 18th Ave., and broadcast it on Facebook Live.

The 39th annual celebration featured a prayer by Monsignor David Cassato, musical performances and speeches.

This year’s honorees included Salvatore Mattioli, CEO of Wall Systems Supply; Dr. Nicoletta Pallotta; the D’Onofrio General Contractors Corp.; and Community Board 11 member Sonia Valentin.

Carlo Scissura, chairman of the board of FIAO, said Italian-Americans are the largest ethnic group in New York State and one of the five largest ethnic groups in the U.S.

“We have leadership throughout the political, economic and community spectrum,” Scissura said. “We are proud to be Italian. We are proud to be New Yorkers and we are proud to celebrate Christopher Columbus on this beautiful weekend.”

FIAO President Jack Spatola said the Italian-American community has tried to stay true to the legacy of Columbus and to pass it on to future generations.

“Legacy is not something we leave for others,” he said. “It’s something we leave in people. This is what Columbus is for us in the Italian community. His legacy is one that reflects some basic ingredients of purpose – the purpose to discover and the purpose to make a difference, and in character. Endurance and believing in something and staying true to that belief.”

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