Annual Elmont/Belmont Parade to feature ‘Star Wars’ characters, princesses, clowns

Annual Elmont/Belmont Parade to feature ‘Star Wars’ characters, princesses, clowns
Belmont Stakes and NYRA are hosting the 16th Annual Paul Sabienza Elmont/Belmont Parade Saturday at 10 a.m. (Courtesy of Belmont Park)

Belmont Stakes and New York Racing Association are hosting the 16th Annual Paul Sapienza Elmont/Belmont Parade Saturday at 10 a.m.

The parade lineup begins at 9:30 a.m. at Covert Avenue School. The parade route travels south on Covert Avenue to Hempstead Turnpike, then west on Hempstead Turnpike before ending at the Alva T. Stanforth Sports Complex for an inaugural exhibition soccer tournament.

The parade route lasts about one hour, and at the end there will be light food and refreshments, NYRA Community Affairs Manager Robert Hines said.

The parade is expected to draw a crowd of 500 to 650 people, he said.

The parade is co-sponsored by the Elmont Chamber of Commerce, Sands New York and Home Depot.

Marchers will be led by parade Grand Marshals Anna Cortesiano and Vito Cortesiano of Elmont-based Italian pizzeria and restaurant Salvatore’s.

Since Salvatore’s opened in 2017, the restaurant owners have been active stakeholders in the community, Hines said.

“They donated thousands of meals during COVID to local residents that were in need,” Hines said. “Since then, they’ve also made a number of donations to local organizations and they host and cater events, oftentimes free of charge, for different community groups.”

The annual parade was renamed in honor of the late former president of the Elmont Chamber of Commerce and owner of Sapienza Bake Shop, Paul Sapienza, who died in 2020.

For the first time, the parade will end at the sports complex for a soccer tournament involving teams from Elmont Memorial High School, Floral Park Memorial High School, New Hyde Park Memorial High School and Sewanhaka High School.

Another new addition to the parade is the 501st Legion, a group of “Star Wars” fans who dress in costume as characters from the movies.

“They’re one of the groups we have added that we think will definitely be a big attraction to…community residents, especially maybe some of our younger residents,” Hines said.

Princesses and clowns will also be marching in the parade in costume.

The “Star Wars” characters, princesses and clowns will stick around at the end of the parade route to take pictures with families.

The parade will also feature an ice cream vendor, balloon artists and face painters.

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