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Italians honored in Whitestone parade

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Photo gallery

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Marchers (l.-r.) Marianna Brunetti, Dana Spagnoli and Stephanie Marchese wear the colors of the Italian flag as they walk with the contingent from St. Mel's Church in the Columbus Day Parade in Whitestone. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Marchers line up on Clintonville Street in Whitestone. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Players from the Whitestone Angels march in uniform. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Participants from St. Mel's Church in Flushing carry banners along the route. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Eddy Sferrazza gives his daughter Isabella a ride. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Albert Perna Founder of Perna Foundation For Kids leads the celebration at Francis Lewis Blvd. and 23rd Ave. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Participants wave Italian and American flags at the conclusion of the parade. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Councilman Dan Halloran and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein were both on hand for the festivities. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Members of the Metropolitan Festival Band provide the musical tempo. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Members of the Italian American Women's Center in Fresh Meadows carry their banner. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Marchers from the New York Black Belt Center stop for a photo. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A man drives a Fiat from St. Luke's Church. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Marchers (l.-r.) Stephanie Marchese, Dana Spagnoli and Marianna Brunetti wear the colors of the Italian flag as they walk with the contingent from St. Mel's Church in the Columbus Day Parade in Whitestone. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Sisters Isabella and Giovanni Porrini wave an Italian flag at the start of the parade in front of St. Luke's Church. Photo by Christina Santucci

Italian-American pride swept into Whitestone Sunday morning as the Columbus Day Parade wound its way through the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets.

The second-annual event brought people of all nationalities together to celebrate the many contributions Italians have made to American culture, beginning with Christopher Columbus’ famous maiden voyage in 1492 from Spain to the New World, which was later named “America” after his fellow countryman Amerigo Vespucci.

The procession of residents, local officials, children in green, white and red gowns, local youth baseball teams and other revelers began at St. Luke’s Roman Catholic Church, at 16-34 Clintonville St., and concluded with a ceremony at the intersection of Francis Lewis Boulevard and 23rd Avenue.

Tino Maiolo, founder of whitestonevillage.com, which was a lead sponsor of the parade, said it was better attended than last year’s and that he believes it instills a sense of community in its attendees.

“We had music, a lot of food, local business sponsors and everything else. It was a good parade,” he said. “It’s to keep the Italian culture still alive in the neighborhood, to get something together for the people.”

After marching in the parade, its grand marshal, City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), presented an award on behalf of the Council to Monsignor John Tosi of St. Luke’s Roman Catholic Church for his service to his congregation and the greater Whitestone community.

Halloran, who wore a green-white-and-red sash during the festivities and was joined by state Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside), said the event was a success.

“I thought it went really well, it was a great showing,” he said. “It was really well-attended and showed that the community can work together, even people from different groups. It reached out across the aisle to bring everyone together.”

Long Island resident Frank Marino brought his two young sons to the parade in order to show them the vibrance of Italian-American culture.

“Columbus Day is a really big day for us as Italians, so we came to have fun and watch the parade and get some good food,” he said. “It’s a really good event for the kids.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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