The Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Committee
500 Christopher Columbus Boulevard
P.O. Box 1492, Seaside Heights, NJ 08751
(732) 914-0351,
Contact: Michael A. Blandina 732-477-6507

International folkloric group "Sicilia Bedda" to make first U.S. appearance at the Italian Festival and Columbus Day Parade.

Seaside Heights---The Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Committee is pleased to announce that the special guest entertainment for the 19th Annual Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival will be "Sicilia Bedda" a folkloric group of singers and dancers from Salemi-Vita, Province of Trapani Italy. This will be the musical group's first U.S. appearance. The Parade and Italian Festival will take place in Seaside Heights during the weekend of October 8th through the 10th.

"Now celebrating our 19th fall season, the Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival has emerged as one of the most popular ethnic cultural festivals in the state," said Committee Chairman Michael Blandina. "As in the previous twelve years, we are bringing in a special group of talented people from the old Country to add an authentic spirit of Italian heritage and culture to these events. This year it is our honor to have with us the folkloric group "Sicilia Bedda" from Salemi-Vita (Trapani), who are performing in the United States for their first time.

"Sicilia Bedda" which translates to Beautiful Sicily was founded in 1993 and has sought to illustrate the music and traditions of ancient Sicily. The group has conducted extensive research related to folk traditions in Sicily. Their illustrations portray various stages of everyday life, such as harvesting, hunting, working, socializing and their intrinsic values. They have portrayed these aspects of everyday in their performances and presentations throughout Italy and abroad. It is with much excitement and expectation they will be a part of the 19th annual Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival. The songs that "Sicilia Bedda" performs are from the Alberto Favara collection. Mr. Favara was a professor of Composition at the Conservatory of Music in Palermo. The dances that they will perform are choreographed by Mr. Pippo Grassa. The group consists of approximately 30 members, which include an orchestra, singers and dancers that have represented Sicily in many international folkloric festivals. Prior to last years performances in Russia and the Czech Republic they have been to other festivals in Morocco, Hungary, Cyprus, France, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Portugal and Serbia.

Additionally, the parade committee eagerly awaits the Mayor of Salemi and Vita as well as the group's spiritual leader Archpriest Salvatore Cipri, Pastor of the Mother Church of Salemi.

Chairman Blandina credits Mario Marano, Groups and Organizations Chairman for the Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival Committee, with continuing to arrange for groups like "Sicilia Bedda" to attend the iconic Seaside Heights cultural festival.

"The Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival is the culmination of an extraordinary amount of selfless work and dedication by an extraordinary group of volunteers who are the heart and soul of the Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival Committee," said Chairman Blandina. "I cannot thank them enough for their energy and enthusiasm for making this Parade and Italian Festival a reality year after year."

There is still time to get involved with the Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival. The organizing committee is still seeking groups and organizations to participate in the Parade. Participation in the Parade is free. The committee is also seeking sponsors for the numerous bands that march in the parade. For more information please contact Chairman Michael Blandina at 732-477-6507.