Christmas In Little Italy Begins Tonight with Tree Lighting
The Little Italy Merchants Association (LIMA) will begin its 13th Annual Christmas in Little Italy celebration tonight, December 7, 2013 at 6:30 PM with a gala Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Patio of Most Precious Blood Church, 109 Mulberry Street, between Canal and Hester Streets.
The ceremony, which will be emceed by actor/singer Gianni Russo, will feature performances by musical artists Jenna Esposito, Karen King, Jackie Thompson and LaToya Lewis, as well as the West Islip String Quartet, guitarist Generoso Esposito and Little Italy's own renowned Italian brass band, the Red Mike Festival Band. The performance will precede the lighting of the 40-foot tall tree by an assemblage of elected officials, community leaders and Father Fabian Grifone, pastor of Most Precious Blood santuary. Members of the public attending the event will be given sheets with lyrics for many of the holiday songs and will be asked to join in the singing of the holiday songs.
The 7th Annual East Meets West Christmas Parade, co-presented by LIMA and the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Association, will be held on Saturday, December 21, at 2 PM from the intersection of Canal and Mulberry Streets. CNN Correspondent Chris Cuomo and News 4 reporter Pei-Sze Cheng will be the Parade Grand Marshals. The Parade, which symbolizes the close unity that exists between Little Italy and neighboring Chinatown, will feature six parade floats - three from Little Italy and three from Chinatown - an authentic Italian gondola mounted on a set of wheels, the US Marine Corps Marching Band and Color Guard, the Cathedral High School All Girls Marching Band, Red Mike Festival Band, as well as Lion Dancers and a Dragon Dance troupe. Celebrity singers performing from the floats include: John Carelli, Jenna Esposito, Karen King, LaToya Lewis, Cheryl Warfield and Francesca Caviglia, winner of this year's Elaine Malbin opera competition. The current Miss Little Italy, Gina Blase, will also be on a float. Local politicians and community leaders will be among the Honorary Grand Marshals. And, of course, Santa Claus will be arriving on a float as well.
The Parade will begin at the intersection of Canal and Mulberry Streets, proceed north on Mulberry to Houston, turn right on Houston for one block, and then proceed south on Mott Street through Little Italy, cross Canal Street into Chinatown, and proceed south along Mott to Worth Street, East Broadway and Kimlau Square where it will end.
Another highlight of this year's holiday festival will be an outdoor concert on Saturday, December 14, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. The concert will take place in front of the new Christmas Store at 133 Mulberry Street between Hester and Grand Streets. The singers include Shana Farr, Heather O'Connor, John Carelli, Cheryl Warfield and Samantha Guerkian. David Schaefer will accompany the singers on keyboard.