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Huntington Sons of Italy parade draws pride, big crowd

Main Street in Huntington on Sunday turned into a sea of red, white and green as crowds lined the street waving Italian flags to cheer on marchers in the annual Sons of Italy Columbus Day Parade.

Cheerleaders, marching bands and color guards from all over the Island marched to the tune of their own music, joined by numerous Sons of Italy lodges from across the Island -- including the Arturo Toscanini Lodge ℇ in Commack, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Husband and wife Benedetto and Maria Cataldo marched in the parade for the first time with their lodge, 2039 of Rocky Point.

When Benedetto, 80, decided he and his wife were going to march this year, he ordered his own flag to carry from Italy.

Maria, 75, said she just enjoyed seeing her friends, children and grandchildren on the sidewalk waving and cheering as they walked by.

“They couldn’t believe we did something like this,” she said proudly.

Barbara and Charlie Lyons can’t remember how many times they’ve attended the parade, but it’s one of their favorites, particularly because it lasts longer than most, allowing them to enjoy it all the more, Barbara said.

For others, like 22-month-old Joey Hughes, it was their first time coming to the parade.

Joey exchanged high-fives with Minnie Mouse while waving his Italian flag, then cheered when he saw his 15-year-old cousin, Brian Weil, play the tuba with the East Meadow High School Marching Band.

“We’re here because of Brian,” Brian’s mom, Barbara Weil, said. “We couldn’t ask for a better day.”

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