Italian Street Festival replaces Stamford Columbus Day parade
STAMFORD — The pomp and circumstance of the city’s annual Columbus Day parade has quietly come to an end.
Organizers said it became too costly to hold the event, which will be replaced with the Columbus Day Italian Street Festival. The new event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday in Columbus Park.
Alfred Fusco, chairman of the festival and president of the Stamford chapter of Italian service organization UNICO, said the parade became a “logistical nightmare.” He said the parade required paying for permits, insurance, city services and police security.
Fusco said the cancellation was not related to the ongoing nationwide debate about Columbus Day and controversial historic monuments. He said the festival has been in the planning stages for eight months and was determined to be more feasible.
“We want to focus on Italian heritage and how that is woven into the American experience,” Fusco said. “We hope people to walk away with a little more knowledge of Italian culture.”
According to a 2015 report by The Order of Sons of Italy in America, more than 10 percent of Stamford residents identify themselves as Italian. The report ranked Stamford among the top-50 cities in the nation for the highest Italian populations.
Mike Batinelli, a member of UNICO who organized the parade up until this year, said the festival will show Italian-American pride.
While the food festival has been recently promoted, there has been no official announcement about the parade’s cancellation. Fusco said that was because the parade was never an “official” city event.
The festival will include Italian food and music, antique cars, demonstrations and activities, including wine and pasta making. Admission is free and there will be free parking in the Bell Street garage.
email@example.com; 203-964-2265; @travclark2