By Shawn King
After a two-year hiatus, the Howard Beach Columbus Day Parade is slated to return to Cross Bay Boulevard Sunday afternoon.
The parade, which will begin at noon at 156th Avenue and head south, will feature marching bands and floats inspired by Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas in 1492.
Other participants will include drivers piloting a fleet of Italian cars and antique police vehicles.
This year, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, Howard Beach resident and MediSys Health Network Director Joann Ariola and Howard Beach business owners Luigi Moccia are scheduled to be honored during the festivities, a spokesman for Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) said.
The parade, put on by the Howard Beach Columbus Day Foundation, celebrates Italian-American heritage in the Howard Beach community as well as contributions made by Italian Americans, according to the group’s website. Italian-American musical acts Angelo Venuto, Christopher Macchio and Howard Beach’s own DJ Nicky G are also expected to make appearances.
Various Girl Scout troops and civic organizations will also march down the boulevard.
The parade was last held in 2011, and in the past has drawn thousands of onlookers.
Columbus Day became a national holiday in 1937 and is celebrated on the second Monday in October.
The Howard Beach Columbus Day Foundation is also holding its eighth-annual gala dinner Oct. 9 at Russo’s on the Bay, at 162-45 Cross Bay Blvd. Cocktails and dinner are slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. To RSVP or for more information, call 718-641-3469.