The Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Committee
500 Christopher Columbus Boulevard
P.O. Box 1492, Seaside Heights, NJ 08751
(732) 477-6507



Contact: Michael A. Blandina 732-814-6365

    Grand Marshal Chosen for 26th Annual Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival

    Brick Township, NJ - The Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Committee is proud to announce that we have chosen Judi Leone to serve as the Grand Marshal for this 26th Annual Celebration. Several individuals have made worthy recommendations to the search committee and after carefully reviewing each of them the search committee has chosen Judi. This year’s Columbus Day Parade will be held on Sunday, October 8, 2017. The three-day Italian Festival begins on Friday, October 6, 2017.

    "Every year we are faced with the difficult task of selecting one person from the many deserving candidates to serve as the ceremonial leader of our Parade and Italian Festival," said Screening Committee Co-Chair Carol Tramutola. "After thoroughly reviewing and considering all the candidates this year, the screening committee felt that although several terrific nominations were submitted, Judi Leone should be our Grand Marshal. Judi’s community involvement and leadership in several organizations over the years, especially her ties to the Italian community through-out the county, stood out among this year’s nominees," Tramutola added.

    Judi and her husband Stephan, who is a Former Grand Marshal himself, reside in Toms River. They have two adult children, Cheryl Leone and Debra Leone Challoner. Over the past few years she has enjoyed playing golf and spending part of the winter in Florida. Both of which are well deserved after years as a volunteer and active participant in several community organizations.

    Judi Leone is a graduate of Toms River High School, Kean University and Rutgers University, where she earned a Masters Degree of Library Science. That may be where she gained her interest in Italian Heritage and Culture, especially pertaining to the Arts of Italy. She was an Elementary School Teacher in Toms River Schools in the seventies and early eighties. Following her years of teaching she became an Educational Media Specialist for Toms River Schools. From 1985 to 1992 Judi was Co-Owner and Vice President of The Production House. Then she was Law Librarian at The Law Center located in downtown Toms River.

    Judi has had a storied career in several community organizations. The Shelter, Inc., Ocean’s Harbor House, United Way of Ocean County, Garden State Philharmonic, Ocean County College Scholarship Committee, Ocean First Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts just to name a few. She also served as a member and Past President of the Italian American Cultural Society. Over the past 10 years she has chaired an event for the Garden State Philharmonic called "Una Bella Notte", which is a celebration of Italy’s wine, food and opera. Judi has been recognized and honored over the years by many civic organizations with the following awards; United Way’s - Volunteer of the Year, National Conference of Community & Justice’s - Humanitarian Award, Garden State Philharmonic’s – Distinguished Service Award, ADACO’s - Citizen of the Year, Monmouth-Ocean Development Council Silver Gull Awards – Community Service Award, Ocean County College’s - Humanitarian Award, Toms River / Ocean County Chamber of Commerce’s – Distinguished Citizen. Those awards and honors as well as others that fill her biography drew the attention of the Parade Committee’s attention. Two additional awards from the Italian American Cultural Society and the Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission are especially important to our committee’s interests.

    “Judi stood out among this year’s nominees because of her commitment to community organizations as both a volunteer and board member. Especially for her years of dedicated service and effort on behalf of an Italian organization.” said Parade Chairman Michael Blandina. “We are confident that this extraordinary individual will uphold the fine tradition established by her predecessors. I am looking forward to having Judi Leone lead our Twenty-sixth annual celebration as Grand Marshal during this year’s celebration.”

    Please join us as we celebrate the 26th Anniversary, the past and future successes of the Ocean County Columbus Day Parade and Italian Festival and also honor Judi Leone’s selection as our 2017 Grand Marshal at our Annual Grand Marshal Dinner Dance. This special event will take place on Thursday June 15, 2017 at the Crystal Point Yacht Club, Route 70, Point Pleasant, New Jersey beginning at 6:30 pm. To commemorate the dinner dance and the selection of Judi Leone as Grand Marshal, we will publish a souvenir ad journal that will be distributed at our annual dinner dance and other events leading up to the parade. We invite you to take this opportunity to advertise your business, profession or add your congratulatory message to Judi in the journal.

    Anyone interested in attending the Dinner Dance, placing an ad in the ad journal, sponsoring the event, joining the Parade Committee or wishing any other information regarding this year’s Parade and Italian Festival and accompanying events may contact Michael at 732 477-6507 or e-mail the committee at