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Columbus Day Carnival & Celebration

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By Giulia Gionta

Zeppoles! Cannoli! Meatballs! The smell of sausage and peppers is in the air again as the town of Eastchester in Westchester County, New York, hosts its annual weekend-long celebration of Italian heritage and culture in honor of October’s Columbus Day.

The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on festivities last year in 2020, but the Eastchester Columbus Day Celebration Committee was committed to bringing back their long-standing, beloved festival for the community to come out and celebrate together once again.

Tuckahoe grade schooler Emma Wray had her face painted as a butterfly. She attended with her parents and little brother. “My favorite part is the pink cotton candy and the swing ride that goes high up in the air,” she said.

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Carnival grounds were free and open to everyone, even dogs. Rides and games were provided by Stewart Amusement Company and patrons could either purchase individual tickets as they wandered, or a wristband at $30 for all access on that night.

The fair’s several local sponsors advertised throughout the carnival on posters: Comizio Orthodontics, Jack’s Bar & Restaurant, and Berkshire Hathaway Home Services among others.

Eastchester Italian restaurant, Gigante, hosted sit-down food service for patrons with prior reservations beneath its custom heated white tent at the center of the fair. Italian themed vendors sold Italia pride merchandise; even the unique small business, Lefty’s Hand Rolled Cigars. Various food trucks offered delicious Italian food and desserts: Just Cannoli Bar, Mac’s Meatballs, Lucy’s serving sausage and peppers among other hot Italian food, and multiple zeppole suppliers!

Walking out of the carnival, a boy with his face painted like a panda bear hung his head over his father’s shoulder as he slept wrapped in his arms. Like so many other kids, he had a long night.


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