Albany, N.Y. - Albany celebrates its Italian culture and heritage with its 18th annual Columbus Parade & Italian Festival on Oct. 10. The parade and festival, among the largest of its kind in Upstate New York, begins at 12 p.m. in historic Washington Park. At 1 p.m., the parade will march through the park, beginning at Madison and New Scotland Avenues and proceeding to the Lakehouse. Serving as Honorary Grand Marshals of this year’s parade are the member of the West Albany Italian Benevolent Society (WAIBS). Members of the society were in attendance at a press conference in Albany City Hall as Mayor Gerald D. Jennings proclaimed Oct. 10-12 as “Italian-American Heritage Days” in the Capital City.
During the press conference, the Mayor said: “The WAIBS was founded in 1909 by a group of recently arrived Italians, arriving in the United States with very few possessions. Today, the WAIBS is growing stronger than ever as a community organization committed to preserving a common heritage that resulted from the efforts of a courageous group of Italians establishing a home in a New World.”
Mayor Jennings noted that, “Italian-Americans have helped to build, shape and enrich life in Albany, while sharing their strong cultural traditions that include dedication to hard work, a commitment to fairness of all people and maintaining the importance of ‘la familia,’ the family unit.” President of the Columbus Parade & Italian Festival Committee, Steven T. Longo, announced special attractions at this year’s celebration:
• In the parade, a replica of Columbus’ Nina will carry Christopher Columbus and members of his crew.
• The Sons of Italy will march to the theme, Carnival in Venice, with masks, beads and costumes.
• TS Ensemble will play on the main stage throughout the day.
• A special performance by Park Playhouse of a Frank Sinatra tribute concert, “Perfectly Frank”, begins at 4:30 p.m.
• The festival will feature a Zona Bambini — a Kids’ Zone — where children can make masks, enjoy bounce and pony rides, watch Roman Riding demonstrations, a fire dance and more!
• The Henry Hudson and Friends Puppet Show, from the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau, a salute to the discoveries of Columbus and Hudson, is a featured performance in the Zona Bambini.
• And, of course, there is fabulous food, music for dancing and more — all starting at 12 Noon in Washington Park.
The annual Columbus Parade and Italian Festival, held in conjunction with the national holiday, celebrates the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, and commemorates the heritage of Italian-Americans in the Capital Region and their many contributions.
Sponsors of Albany’s 18th Annual Columbus Parade & Italian Festival include the City of Albany, the Lia Auto Group, HSBC, Jefferies, Times Union, Albany’s Italian American Community Center, West Albany Italian Benevolent Society and Roma Intangible Lodge #215 Order of Sons of Italy in America, with the support of many other businesses and community organizations in the Capital Region.