It's time to submit a nomination for the person you believe would best represent Ocean County's Italian culture and heritage this year. The Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Committee is looking for a Grand Marshal to head up the 21st Annual Parade and Italian Festival in Seaside Heights from October 5th through the 7th.

Parade Chairman Michael Blandina says the nominee should be of good moral character and community oriented. "We are looking for somebody who is generally family oriented, very much interested in continuing the culture and the education of our children in that culture and heritage that we have come to know."

Blandina says in the past Grand Marshals have represented a wide spectrum of vocations. "We've had Restaurant Owners such as Tony Baiamonte in the past, Developer Donato or 'Dan' D'Onfrio who is very much in the business community, Nina Anuaria involved in the banking industry, Superior Court Judge Peter Giovine."

However, the duties of Grand Marshal don't just begin and end with the October weekend in Seaside Heights. Blandina says "we ask them if they can be at our events, our fundraiser in October at Corraba's. They're asked to attend the Italian Flag raising representing the parade and festival."

Blandina says nominations should include a letter stating why the nominee should be Grand Marshal. It should also include a resume or a biography of the person.

The deadline for nominations is April 1st.

The mailing address is: Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Committee, c/o Michael A. Blandina, 249 Hawaii Drive, Brick, NJ 08723. He says they can also be sent by email to:

Blandina says the Grand Marshal should be announced around the 1st or 2nd week in April. He says the Grand Marshal will be honored at their Annual Dinner Dance on June 21st.

They're also looking for volunteers for the 2012 Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival. Contact Michael Blandina at 732-477-6507.