By Connor Beach
The Town of Huntington celebrated an event filled Columbus Day Weekend that culminated Sunday with the 20th Annual Long Island Columbus Day Parade through Huntington village.
The ceremonies kicked off on Oct. 4 with the raising of the Italian flag above the Christopher Columbus statue at the intersection of Lawrence Hill Road and Main Street in Huntington village.
Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Councilmembers Eugene Cook, Joan Cergol, and Ed Smyth, Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia and Tax Receiver Jillian Guthman were joined by State Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Huntington Station), County Comptroller John Kennedy (R-Suffolk County), County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) and members of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America to show their support for the town’s Italian-American community.
Lupinacci assured the gathering that the 9-foot-high bronze statue of Columbus, which was unveiled across from St. Patrick’s Church in 1971, was going nowhere.
“As people have made allegations of the Columbus Day holiday over the past few years… this statue is here to stay in Huntington standing taller, and larger, with broader shoulders,” Lupinacci said.
The Columbus statue was commissioned by the late Sam Albicocco, an Italian-American and prominent Huntington businessman. Lupinacci said Albicocco purchased the land for the statue and funded the construction of the statue with donations from local Italian-American residents. The statue was transferred to the town in 1994.
The 20th Long Island Columbus Day Parade kicked off three days later on Sunday at the corner of Park Avenue and Main Street in Huntington.
Lupinacci served as the parade’s co-grand marshal with NYS OSDIA President Robert M. Ferrito, News 12 anchor Antoinette Biordi and Italian media personality Dr. Vito DeSimone.
The parade coincided with the annual Long Island Fall festival at Heckscher Park, and the 1.5-mile route that ended at the Columbus statue was lined with people.
Members of over 24 OSDIA lodges in Nassau and Suffolk could be seen marching with banners and Italian flags. Marching bands from Walt Whitman, Deer Park, East Meadow, Islip and W.T. Trespar Clarke high schools filled the air with music.
The parade also marked the 113th anniversary of the Order Sons of Italy in America.
Lupinacci said the Italian Flag would continue to fly above the Columbus statue for the rest of October to celebrate Italian-American Heritage Month.