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Revelers brave the rain to march in Queens Columbus Day parade in Astoria

The annual Queens Columbus Day parade took place in Astoria on Saturday, Oct. 7, despite the heavy rain. (Photo by Walter Karling)

Oct. 9, 2023 By Michael Dorgan

The annual Queens Columbus Day parade took place in Astoria on Saturday, Oct. 7, and it was well attended despite the heavy rain.

The parade, now in its 45th year, celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492. It also coincides with Columbus Day, a federal holiday that takes place on the second Monday of October every year to mark Columbus’ arrival. Columbus went ashore at Guanahaní, an island in the Bahamas.

The Queens Columbus Day parade is organized annually by the Federation of Italian-American Organizations of Queens (FIAOQ), a nonprofit group that seeks to promote and preserve Italian-American heritage throughout the borough. It also provides immigration services and civic classes. Astoria is known for having a large Italian-American population.

Rain-soaked marchers departed from Kaufman Astoria Studios, a film studio located at 34-12 36th St., and marched north through the heart of Astoria until they reached Columbus Triangle, a small public space next to the Astoria Boulevard station and bordered by Astoria Boulevard South, Hoyt Avenue South and 33rd Street.

The space contains a statue of Christopher Columbus, which was erected in 1941. A wreath was laid at the bottom of the statue to honor Columbus.

This year’s grand marshal was Clemente Lopes, who is the principal of I.S. 010 Horace Greeley, a middle school located at 45-11 31st Ave. in Astoria. He led the march with Judge Jerry Iannece, the parade’s chairperson, and Thomas Principe Esq., a former parade grand marshal. Angie Markham, the executive director of FIAOQ also attended the parade.

Participants in the parade also included members of the NYPD’s police band, and the Junior Officer Training Corps (JROTC) at Aviation High School, an aviation high school located at 45-30 36th St.

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Thomas Principe Esq., a former parade Grand Marshal (center) with Grand Marshal Clemente Lopes (center left) (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Marchers playing in the rain (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

A wreath was laid at the bottom of the statue of Columbus (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Marchers carrying a banner and flags at the Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

(Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

(Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Mayra dressed as Queen Isabella (l.) and Joe Di Rico dressed as Christopher Columbus (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Grand Marshal Clemente Lopes with FIAOQ President Joe DiPietro at the Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Parade Grand Marshal Clemente Lopes (l.) being welcomed by parade chairperson Judge Jerry Lannece (c.) and FIAOQ executive director Angie Markham (r.) Lopes is the principal of IS 10, The Horace Greeley School, located on 31st Avenue and 46th Street in Astoria. Lopes emigrated from Italy and arrived in the United States at the age of 17 (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Participants before the parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Members of the Aviation HS Junior ROTC (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Queens Columbus Day parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

Hellgate road runner Carol Labozzetta at the parade (Photo by Walter Karling)

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