The Federation of Italian-American Societies of Western New York began a weekend of festivities celebrating Columbus Day with a parade down Hertel Avenue, through the heart of Buffalo's Little Italy. The 7th Annual Columbus Parade, sponsored by the Sorrento Cheese Italian Heritage Festival of Buffalo, began the celebration in honor of an Italian explorer of unusual daring and ambition who opened up the Americas to the rest of the world.
“The voyages of Christopher Columbus were unique and important because they marked the beginning of centuries of trans-Atlantic exploration and colonization,” said Federation President Peter LoJacono. “As the umbrella organization for Italian-American organizations throughout Western New York, the Federation takes pride in this heritage, the millions of immigrants who have come to America since and the enormous contributions they have made to the American way of life.”
This year’s Parade Grand Marshal was Stephen Lanza, President of the Italian-American Police Association and Vice President of the Lake Erie Italian Club.
The celebration continues tomorrow. At 11 a.m. St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church (160 Court Street, Buffalo) holds a special Italian Mass in honor of Columbus Day. Then at 12:15 p.m. the Federation of Italian-American Societies of WNY sponsors its annual wreath-laying ceremony at the base of the Christopher Columbus Monument (Porter Avenue at Niagara Street, Buffalo). Over 20 local Italian-American organizations will participate.
The culmination of this weekend's activities is the 105th Annual Columbus Dinner Gala at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. WIVB’s Jacquie Walker emcees the event that honors local Italian-Americans and their contributions to our community. Buffalo developer Rocco Termini, who recently completed a $42-million-dollar restoration of the historic Lafayette Hotel, is this year's award recipient. Event tickets are $55 and can be purchased by contacting Teresa Marcello at 668-9451 or Peter LoJacono at 523-0360.