Honorees and scholarship winners recognized at annual Italian-American Legislators celebration

In June, NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., 2019-2020 President of the Conference of Italian-American State Legislators, joined his colleagues in celebrating the 29th Annual Mulberry Street Fair and Festa Italiana.

“It has been an exciting year serving as President to the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators,” Addabbo said. “What a great day we had celebrating our Italian heritage, awarding outstanding high school students and recognizing the contributions of remarkable individuals from the Arts, Sports and Government. The Legislative Office Building in Albany transformed into ‘Little Italy’ with live music, vendors and an assortment of free Italian food items donated by generous sponsors.”

The Mulberry Street Fair kicked off with a ceremony to recognize scholarship winners. This year the Conference received 95 applications from throughout the state and awarded four $3500 scholarships. The Academic scholarship winners were Jason Carretta (Staten Island) who will be attending Penn State in the fall and Logan Meda (New City) who plans to attend Northeastern University. The Athletic scholarship winners were Mia Cutrona (Staten Island), a Binghamton University commit and Jared Welch (Binghamton) who will continue his studies at Syracuse University.

Former champion MLB World Series catcher and manager Joe Girardi, AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, and local musician and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Ricky Byrd, were the 2019 Honorees. All three exemplify the Conference mission to foster and celebrate Italian-American contributions in all aspects of society to the State of New York and beyond.

“It was my distinct honor to acknowledge these three outstanding individuals for their impact and inspiration to the lives of others as a result of their actions and accomplishments,” Addabbo said. “Ricky Byrd, for instance, has used his music, notoriety and personal struggle to help countless others who grapple with addiction. I am extremely proud to call Ricky Byrd a friend, constituent, neighbor and fellow Italian-American.”

Festa Italiana took place in the evening at the Italian Community Center in Troy, NY where attendees enjoyed authentic Italian cuisine, live music highlighted by Ricky Byrd’s surprise performance, bocce tournament play and the opportunity to mingle with Joe Girardi, Mario Cilento and Ricky Byrd.

“The Conference offers its members an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be an Italian-American, celebrate our unique cultural identity and preserve our shared heritage,” Addabbo said. “I am already looking forward to our next Italian-American Day celebration scheduled to take place on June 1, 2020.”