An Ocean County perennial marks its silver anniversary in 2016 - the annual Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival. Now, who'll lead the 25th annual march in Seaside Heights? Nominations are under way for the parade that leads the event, October 7-9.

Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival
Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival

Parade Chairman Michael Blandina said that the event “...has grown into one of the most popular ethnic celebrations at the Jersey Shore, attracting thousands of tourists to Seaside Heights over the past 24 years.”.

“Grand Marshal nominees should be civic minded individuals who are of good character. as they will be the symbolic leader of the weekend’s festivities as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary.”

The lucky winner joins a veritable Who's Who of Ocean County prestige and good will who have worn the sash and symbolized community spirit, including:

  • Robert Mussari, decorated Marine Corps veteran
  • Specialty food purveyors Michael Colasurdo, Craig Sardoni
  • Developers Donato "Dan" D'Onofrio, Gary Lotano
  • Nina Anuario, President, Ocean County Vocational/Technical Schools
  • Former Superior Court Judge Peter Giovine
  • Carol Camilli Wolfe, Founder/Executive Director, Dottie's House
  • Attorneys Stephen R. Leone, Kim Pascarella, Alan Floria
  • Lucy Appice Green, Toms River/Ocean County Chamber
  • Restauranteurs Patrick L. Bottazzi, Joseph Leone Introna, John Tesauro
  • Luigi Marciante, Central Jersey Italian American Club
  • Architect Paul Barlo
  • Hugo Vicari, father of Ocean County Freeholder Joe Vicari
  • Daniel Carluccio, former Ocean County Prosecutor
  • Bob LaTorre, former Seaside Heights Public Relations Director/WOBM Host
  • Joseph Citta, Attorney and Philanthropist
  • Anthony Baiamonte, Restauranteur

According to Grand Marshal Search Committee Chair Phyllis Shindle, the high quality of nominees each year leaves members with the unenviable task of deciding who won't be selected.

“The Selection Committee will work diligently to choose the right person to serve as Grand Marshal for this year’s Parade and Italian Festival and one that will represent the Parade Committee and Ocean County in an admirable manner," Shindle said.

The nomination window remains open until April 1. The winner will be revealed the following week and be the honored guest at the Committee's fundraising dinner-dance on June 16.

Send a letter of recommendation and either a resume or biography to:

Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Committee

c/o Michael A. Blandina

249 Hawaii Drive

Brick, NJ 08723

Volunteers are always welcome for planning and executing the event. Reach Michael Blandina at 732-477-6507. Learn more at the Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival web page.

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