Columbus Day luncheon celebrates Italian heritage

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GATES, N.Y. – The Italian Civic League hosted its 82nd annual Columbus Day luncheon Monday.

It was held at the Italian American Community Center in Gates.

Quintino DiCesare, the civic league’s president and an Italian immigrant, says while the federal holiday started as a celebration of Christopher Columbus coming to America, it has since become a celebration of Italian heritage.

“The Italians in the United States helped build up the United States. Back then, we helped build the railroad, but today we have judges and everything in the government. That’s why we think it’s our day today,” he said.

The organization gave out three $3,000 scholarships to Italian-American college students during the event.