The Federation of Italian-American Societies of Western New York is proud to announce that Buffalo native Tom Fontana, the award-winning writer/producer of such television series as St. Elsewhere, Oz, Homicide, Copper and Borgia, will be Grand Marshal of the 8th Annual Columbus Day Parade on October 12 beginning at 1 p.m. along Hertel Avenue in the heart of Buffalo’s Little Italy. Fontana also will be honored at the Federation’s 106th Annual Columbus Day Dinner Gala on October 13 beginning at 6 p.m. at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens (6461 Transit Road, Depew).
“We are honored to have Tom Fontana lead this year’s Columbus Day festivities,” said Federation President Peter LoJacono. Below is a complete list events:
* Saturday, October 12 at 1 p.m. - The Galbani Cheese Italian Heritage Festival of Buffalo sponsors the 8th Annual Columbus Parade. It begins on Hertel Avenue at Virgil Avenue, then proceeds eastward through the heart of Buffalo’s Little Italy, ending just after Parkside Avenue. This year’s Parade Grand Marshal is Buffalo native and award-winning television writer/producer Tom Fontana. A variety of marching units, including representatives from Federation member organizations, will participate.
* Sunday, October 13 at 11 a.m. - St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church (160 Court Street, Buffalo) conducts a special Italian Mass in honor of Columbus Day.
* Sunday, October 13 at 12:15 p.m. - The Federation 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.
* Sunday, October 13 at 6 p.m. - The Federation honors Tom Fontana at its 106th Annual Columbus Dinner Gala at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. WIVB’s Jacquie Walker will emcee the event that honors local Italian-Americans and their contributions to our community. Fontana has received many awards for his work, including four Peabodys, three Emmys, three Writers’ Guild, four Television Critics Association, a Cable Ace Award and the Humanitas Prize. The event is $65 per person. Reservations can be made by contacting Teresa Marcello at 668-9451 or Peter LoJacono at 523-0360.
* Monday, October 14 - Columbus Day is observed as a federal public holiday.
“Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer of unusual daring and ambition whose voyages were unique and important because they opened up the Americas to the rest of the world and marked the beginning of centuries of trans-Atlantic exploration and colonization,” said 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.”
For more information about this weekend's events or the Federation, visit www.fiaswny.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.