Port Washington hosts long-awaited celebration of pride

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Port Washington hosts long-awaited celebration of pride
Pride in Port returned to the peninsula after a year-long absence due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Casey Flynn)

BY CASEY FLYNN

After a year’s absence because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Port Washington’s 32nd annual Pride in Port parade returned on Saturday.

The daylong event stems from the founding of the hamlet, which marks its 377th anniversary this year. Barbara Faticone, co-chairwoman of the Pride in Port Committee, said she was thrilled to see the community’s turnout.

“It was great to see everyone who came out and showed their pride for the community because that’s what it’s all about,” she said. “It’s been a long time since we could gather as a town which is why today was so great for Port Washington.”

At 11:30 a.m., members of the community came together on Main Street to begin the day with a parade highlighting schools, local organizations, first responders and Schreiber High School’s newest inductees into its Hall of Fame.

The parade was led by this year’s grand marshal, Chief Robert Del Muro, the commanding officer of the Port Washington Police Department, who was born and reared in Port Washington.

A local family commended Del Muro and his naming as grand marshal.

“His dedication to the community over his 40 years of service and beyond is really honorable and we know Port Washington is proud to be represented by him,” said one family member, who declined to be identified.  

As the parade reached a close, the activities continued on Campus Drive where families met at Weber Field for a “Family Fun” event consisting of bounce houses, rock climbing and more.

At Schreiber Hall, there was a luncheon for senior citizens where those that have been engaged in the community gathered to celebrate Port Washington.

Pride in Port also includes the homecoming football game for Port Washington, which took on John F. Kennedy High School of Plainview. At halftime, the newest inductees of the Schreiber Hall of Fame were recognized on the field.

Marco Bertolotti, class of 2010, was acknowledged for his premier running across his four years. As a freshman, he achieved nearly every award he qualified for in Nassau County. He went on to run for Stanford University, where he was an Academic All-American his junior year.

Raquel Wilson Piraino, class of 1991, was known at Schreiber for her talent as a soccer player as well as a gymnast. She was the captain of both teams her senior year. Piraino picked up lacrosse as a sophomore and never looked back. She played lacrosse at Hofstra University and after graduating, came back to coach lacrosse at Port Washington.

Keith Owens, class of 1983, was an outstanding three-sport athlete in football, wrestling and lacrosse. Owens was most passionate about lacrosse as he played at SUNY Farmingdale, then Syracuse where he won a national championship in 1988.

Marianne Berndt, class of 1997, collected tons of hardware over the course of her career in shot put and discus.  She had won youth championships before attending Schreiber and the winning only continued. Up until 2019, Berndt continued to compete.

Dimitris “Jimmy” Vattes, class of 1997, participated in sports such as football, basketball and lacrosse. But, he excelled in football. Vattes was a finalist for the Thorp Award, which goes to the best high school football player in Nassau County. He went on to play football at Cornell before graduating in 2001. He is now recognized for his work in real estate.

In the homecoming game, the Vikings handled Plainview,  40-15.  

As far as the class of 2022 goes, many students involved in the parade said they felt relief in being able to participate as a Viking once more. Edwin Mun, a senior at Schreiber, took part in the marching band for his final Pride in Port parade.

“Being a part of the marching band and sports growing up, it was always exciting to come to the parade and enjoy the day with everyone,” Mun said. “Marching through the town one last time for Pride in Port was really special for me and my friends because of how much we’ve already lost since COVID-19.”

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