PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – Three Italian-American citizens were honored Saturday as part of opening ceremonies for the Feast of the Assumption Italian Festival in Peekskill.
Washed out from the night before, the festivities began with a small procession from Our Lady of the Assumption Church down Esther Street to Brown Street.
"It seems the sun and God is always smiling on this festival," Mayor Mary Foster said of the steamy sunshine that emerged from threatening skies.
Sharing one of the Italian Citizens of the Year awards were Alexander "Buddy" and Barbara Risoli, whose family roots extend more than 125 years in Peekskill. Buddy has served on the city's Planning Commission for 30 years while Barbara served the city's senior citizen program for more than 20 years.
"This is a beautiful and wonderful honor," Barbara Risoli said. "We're just following in the footsteps of our parents and grandparents. I'm proud of being born an Italian-American and I'm proud to be born in Peekskill."
Also honored was longtime Peekskill Police Chief Eugene Tumolo, who squashed rumors that he was retiring after 43 years.
"It's a very proud moment for me," he said. "I'm very proud to be an Italian-American. Peekskill is an incredible community. It's truly representative of what the American experience is all about, a melting pot of people."
The Italian Festival runs through 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday with food, games and entertainment.