James F. Nardozzi, assistant Bridgeport Police Chief, will be inducted as the 2015 Columbus Day Parade & Celebration Grand Marshal on Oct. 6 at Tashua Knolls Golf Club in Trumbull.
Tickets for the installation dinner are $75 per person. To obtain them, call dinner co-chair Frank Gennarini at 203-257-4142. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. with the dinner and program to follow, starting at 6.
For the 2015 parade, Nardozzi has chosen the parade theme of honoring first responders and veterans. The son of Italian immigrants, who settled in Waterbury after first working in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, Nardozzi thinks it’s appropriate to support first responders and veterans because of their contribution to their communities. As the 107th Grand Marshal of the oldest continuous running Columbus Day Parade in the state, Nardozzi wants to recognize how much first responders and veterans sacrifice for their communities and country.
“This is truly a great honor for me, the son of Italian immigrants. Columbus Day is about highlighting Americans of Italian descent, and how they have sacrificed their selves, and in some cases put their lives on the line for their community and country,” Nardozzi said. “Italian-Americans are appreciative of what this country has presented to them. It’s fitting to recognize their contributions during these times.”
As Nardozzi sees it, family heritage shapes who people are. He sees himself first as an American, but recognizes how his heritage shaped his life from the diet he eats to how he celebrates holidays. Nardozzi, a Waterbury resident with a doctorate degree in Public Administration, has marched in the Columbus Day Parade for the last two years, and is looking forward to riding on the Grand Marshal’s float this year.
The father of a 13-year-old son, Julian, Nardozzi became the Bridgeport Assistant Police Chief in 2012 after serving as the Dean of Post College School of Arts & Sciences for five years. He also was the Deputy Chief of Police for the Waterbury Police Department for 19 years.
The Columbus Day Parade steps off at 1 p.m. on Oct. 11, beginning at Wayne and Jewett Avenues in the North End, and then proceeds south to Madison Ave., finishing at Micalizzi Italian Ices at 712 Madison Ave. The parade is expected to feature more than 70 floats, bands, and organizations, such as the Trumbull High School Marching Band, the Pyramid Shriners, the CT State Police Governor’s Horse Guard, the Fairfield County Gaelic Fife and Drums, The Chester Fife and Drums, an Italian Marching Band and police honor guards from Bridgeport, Fairfield, Stratford, and Trumbull.
Prior to the parade, an Italian Street Festival will start at 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the vicinity of Micalizzi’s, featuring Italian food (sausage and peppers, pizza, pizza fritta, pasta and meatballs, pastries, and Italian ices). In addition, there will be activities for children, including Italian wines, music, and Italian singers. Admission is free.
Christopher Caruso, the treasurer of the Council of Italian-American Societies of Greater Bridgeport, said: “We’ve planned an outstanding parade that we hope people in the Greater Bridgeport area, no matter what their nationality is, will come out and support us. The Italian Street Parade on Madison Avenue is a great place for the community to come together and support our great Italian-American culture.”
The Council of Italian-American Societies of Greater Bridgeport will sponsor the Parade and all the Columbus Day Parade and Celebration for the 36th consecutive year. The council was formed in 1978 to operate exclusively for charitable, literary and education purposes in recognizing the contribution of Italian-Americans to this country.