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Columbus Day Parade to march through Astoria streets

Members of the Societa Gioventu Quagliettana show their Italian pride in Astoria's Columbus Day Parade in 2011. Photo by Joe Anuta
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The Annual Queens Columbus Day Parade is set to kick off at noon Saturday at the Kaufman Studio, at 34-12 36th St. in Astoria. Now in its 36th straight year, it’s the oldest and biggest Columbus Day Parade in Queens, according to The Federation of Italian American Organizations of Queens Executive Director Angie Markham.

“We’ll have at least 2,000 people march with us this year, depending on the weather. There have been some years where 4,000 have marched,” Markham said.

The participants will be joined by three marching bands and a fleet of Fiat cars as well as other vintage automobiles. Three of the cars will carry replicas of Columbus’ ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, on their rooftops. A troop of military police, known as Caribinieri, made the trip from Rome to provide an escort for Natalia Quintavalle, the Italian Counsel General of New York, who is this year’s grand marshall.

The parade will assemble at 11 a.m. outside Kaufman Studios on 37th Street between 34th and 35th Avenues. Participants will march along Steinway Street to 30th Avenue, then turn right on 33rd Street and stop at the Columbus Triangle at Astoria Boulvard and 31st Street. There will be the singing of both the Italian and U.S. national anthems, short speeches by dignitaries and a wreath laying ceremony that commemerates Columbus’ discovery of the Americas in 1492.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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