City Embraces Italian-American Culture with Columbus Day Festivities

The Yonkers Columbus Day Committee was joined by Mayor Mike Spano and leaders of local Italian-American civic organizations last week to announce a series of activities and events planned in the days leading up to holiday on October 9th.

Like many other cities across the country, Columbus Day has evolved into a general celebration of Italian-American heritage, culture, food, and music. In early August, Jennifer Pierz was crowned Miss Columbus 2023 after sharing her story of what being an Italian-American means to her. A senior at Maria Regina High School in Hartsdale, Pierz is proud to celebrate her Italian heritage and serve as an ambassador during this year’s festivities.

With events and activities planned for the week leading up to the national holiday, there are plenty of opportunities for locals and visitors to celebrate our nation’s founding as well as the positive impacts of Italian settlement in Yonkers and greater New York State.

Columbus Day 2023 Schedule of Events

Painting parade lines for Columbus Day
Painting parade lines – credit: City of Yonkers

Parade Line Painting | Tuesday, September 26th at 11:00 a.m. | Maggiacomo Lodge, 885 Midland Avenue, Yonkers

Italian Flag Raising and Italian Coffee Reception (Hosted by Mayor Spano and Yonkers City Council) | Wednesday, September 27th at 4:30 p.m. | Yonkers City Hall

Columbus Day Dinner Dance | Friday, September 29th at 7:00 p.m. | The Westchester Manor, 140 Saw Mill River Rd, Hastings-On-Hudson

Holiday Mass | Saturday, September 30th at 4:00 p.m. | St. Ann’s Catholic Parish, 854 Midland Ave, Yonkers

96th Annual Columbus Day Parade | Sunday October 1st at 2:00 p.m. | Seminary Avenue to Mile Square Road

Columbus Day Street Festival | Sunday October 1st at 2:00 p.m. | Midland Avenue Following Columbus Day Parade

Columbus Day 2023 flyer

Celebrating Past Traditions and Honoring New

Columbus Day, celebrated on the second Monday of October, commemorates Christopher Columbus’ 1492 landing in the Americas. It began as an unofficial celebration in the 18th century but became a federal holiday in 1937. The first Columbus Day celebration occurred in 1792 in New York, followed by President Benjamin Harrison’s proclamation in 1892. President Franklin D. Roosevelt made it a national holiday in 1937, largely due to lobbying by the Knights of Columbus. While the holiday honors Columbus’ achievements and Italian-American heritage, it has also sparked controversy, leading to the rise of Indigenous People’s Day as a counter-celebration in many places nationwide since the 1970s. The observance of Columbus Day varies across states, encompassing celebrations of both Italian-American heritage and indigenous cultures.

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