By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn’s Italian-American community is getting set to march with pride in a salute to Christopher Columbus this weekend.
The 32nd Annual Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade will take place on Saturday, Oct. 12, on 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst, a community that is still home to large numbers of Italian Americans, despite the changing demographics in recent years. Several years ago, the City Council renamed a section of 18th Avenue from 65th Street to 86th Street “Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard” in tribute to the neighborhood's Italian-Americans.
The parade, which often features bands and dancers from Italy, as well as civic organizations, church groups, schools and business leaders from Brooklyn, will begin at 1 p.m. The parade route runs along 18th Avenue from 61st Street to 84th Street.
The event is sponsored every year by the Federation of Italian-American Organizations of Brooklyn, a coalition of dozens of Italian civic and business groups in the borough. The federation's headquarters is located at 7403 18th Ave. The non-profit organization is currently overseeing the construction of a community and recreation center on the corner of 18th and Benson Avenues.
This year’s grand marshals are: the Rev. Michael Louis Gelfant, pastor of Saint Finbar Roman Catholic Church; Josephine Sportella-Giusto, principal of the Academy of Talented Scholars; Luigi Rosabianca of the law firm Rosabianca & Associates; and Lenny Tillman of Lenco Diagnostic Laboratories.
Prior to the parade, a mass will be held at St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church on Bay Parkway and 61st Street at 10:15 a.m. A reception will follow in the auditorium of St. Athanasius School. The Rev. Msgr. David L. Cassato will be the celebrant of the mass.