Southern Brooklyn

Columbus Day parade sets sail along 18th Avenue

October 15, 2021 Jaime DeJesus
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The annual Columbus Day Parade triumphantly returned to 18th Avenue Oct. 9. 

The parade, which is hosted by the Federation of Italian American Organizations, marked its 39th year after a year off due to the pandemic. 

Marchers included elected officials, bands from local schools, the NYPD, Boy Scouts of America, and many proud Italian-Americans and others.

Msgr. David Cassato celebrated a pre-parade Mass at St. Athanasius Church, 6115 Bay Pkwy. The march began at 18th Avenue and 61st St. and ended at Il Cento at 8711 18th Ave.

“As the first major parade back post-COVID, bringing together the entire community to celebrate our Italian heritage and our roots was an important milestone,” said FIAO Chairman Carlo Scissura, the parade’s emcee. “Watching children and groups of all ethnicities come together on 18th Avenue shows us all that we are one city united towards the future.”

Members of the Federation of Italian American Organizations celebrate the day. Eagle Urban Media/Photos by Arthur De Gaeta

The grand marshals were Ana Oliveira, senior vice president and market executive at Investors Bank; Nicholas Cutaneo of C+C Catering; and representatives of Maimonides Medical Center. 

“This year’s grand marshals were reflective of that ideal as we honored those serving the community during the challenging times of COVID-19,” said Jack Spatola, FIAO president and parade executive chair. “For that reason, this year’s parade had even more significance as we are collectively recovering from the pandemic. It not only ignited cultural pride and spirit but served as a model of resilience and unity among our diverse Brooklynites.”

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Randy Peers joins in the celebration. Eagle Urban Media/Photos by Arthur De Gaeta

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president Randy Peers applauded FIAO for the parade’s triumphant return.

“[It’s] always fun but, more importantly, a celebration of Italian-American culture and the contributions Italians made to America and NYC,” Peers said.

State Sen. Diane Savino said the event was amazing.

“It was an opportunity to celebrate Italian Americans and their contributions to this great country in a neighborhood that has provided the American Dream to many new immigrants,” Savino told this paper. “Watching the participation of our Chinese and Russian neighbors culminating in a ceremony at Il Centro shows how diversity is our greatest asset.”

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