Organizers of the Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival begin their search for this year's Grand Marshal. The Parade Committee is accepting nominations for the person who will serve as the "ambassador" of the 23rd annual weekend-long event.

"We're looking for a person with good moral character and community oriented and someone who's giving back to the community in which they live," According to Parade Committee Chairman Michael Blandina. "We want someone that represents the pride and heritage of Italians of hard work ethic," Blandina said.

The selection process has multiple steps that begins with sending a letter with your nomination, a biography or resume of the person. Blandina also added that committee members may contact the person and ask questions.

"Every nomination that is submitted will be carefully considered by the Selection Committee," Blandina explained. "I am confident that they will once again select a most deserving individual and someone who will be an exemplary representative of the residents of Ocean County."

Past Grand Marshals include a list of entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, a former State Superior court Judge and the head of a nonprofit organization.

The deadline for submitting nominations for Grand Marshal is April 1st. Nominations should be submitted with a letter and biography or resume to:

Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Committee

c/o Michael A. Blandina

249 Hawaii Drive

Brick, NJ 08723

The Grand Marshal will be announced the first week in April. The person selected will be honored at the Annual Dinner Dance on June 19th. Get more information from their web site at, emails can be sent to

The Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival is a major undertaking with many components. Blandina said they're in the process now of obtaining 16 permits and raising $125,000 to put on the entire event. "Our main goal is to promote the Italian heritage and culture and celebrate that heritage and culture and over the course of the years, we've brought in a group of performers from Italy. We feel that makes a touch of the ethic flair," He said.

Anyone who is interested in becoming involved with the 2014 Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival or joining the committee should contact Michael Blandina at 732-477-6507.