The Federal Hill Commerce Association made Dr. Giulio Gerardo Diamante an offer he couldn’t refuse.
And he didn’t.
Dr. Diamante, who founded Johnston-based OPTX Rhode Island, has been selected as Grand Marshall of the 2012 Columbus Day Parade that’s held annually on historic Federal Hill in Providence.
“It is with great pride that I accept this honor,” Dr. Diamante said. “This is a celebration of ethnicity and culture; it is a holiday weekend to enjoy wonderful food and the good company of family and friends in a festive outdoor setting.”
The annual Columbus Day Festival will begin at noon on Saturday, Oct. 6 with the grand opening ceremonies. The fun, food and entertainment-filled event will continue through Monday, Oct. 8.
Festival committee officials this week announced there would be live entertainment at three locations on Atwells Avenue throughout the event. The parade, featuring the renowned 88th Army Band is scheduled to step off Sunday, Oct. 7. Federal Hill is closed from Dean Street to Sutton Street during the festival.
Dr. Diamante, along with his wife Lynne Michael-Diamante and the couple’s daughter Giulia Lynne, will kick off the parade and lead it through the entire route, starting on Harris Avenue and continuing to the final Reviewing Stand on Atwells Avenue.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have Dr. Diamante as this year’s Columbus Day Parade Grand Marshall,” said Robert D’Uva, president of the Federal Hill Merchants Association and co-owner of the Federal Hill Gazette newspaper. “Doctor and Lynne Michael-Diamante’s families have strong business ties to Federal Hill. It all adds up to a win-win situation and makes this year’s festival that much more special.”
Dr. Diamante says it is a weekend he and his family are looking forward to.
“It should be lots of fun. I love the Hill; we’re going to enjoy some good food and good people during the Festival,” he said.
It will also be a homecoming of sorts for Diamante, who was born in Providence after his parents Ettore and Esterina Diamante immigrated to Rhode Island from their native Italy back in the 1960s.
“My late mother [Esterina] was from Monteforte Adellino and my father, who is still working as a self-employed tile setter at age 80, came from Fondi,” Diamante said. “They taught my brothers and me strong Italian tradition and morals that were integrated into our home and family life.”
Diamante spent much of his younger years in the capital city. He graduated from the former Our Lady of Providence Seminary Prep, Providence College and the Brown University Medical School.
After graduating from PC, he attended Georgetown University where he obtained his Master’s Degree. Then it was off to the Boston University Medical School before doing his internship at Brown University at Rhode Island Hospital.
During his schooling and surgical training in Boston, Dr. Diamante made family time and frequent visits back to Providence
“The foundation for success and long-term satisfaction all begins at home,” he said. “Making time to be with family and friends is so important. And Columbus Day weekend on Federal Hill creates the perfect opportunity.”
Dr. Diamante is a board certified eye physician and surgeon as well as a clinical assistant professor of surgery (ophthalmology) at Brown Medical School.
His wife Lynne, an accomplished attorney and a former Mrs. Rhode Island, is also excited about her husband’s selection as Grand Marshall because her family also has strong ties to Federal Hill.
Lynne Michael-Diamante’s father, Joseph Michael and his family, owned Michael Brothers that was one of the first fruit and produce businesses during the pushcart era on Federal Hill.
“It was actually Lynne’s grandfather, Peter Michael, who started the then pushcart business,” Dr. Diamante explained. “Her father continued the company’s tradition and great reputation as one of the best and largest fruit and produce dealers in the Northeast.”
The Columbus Day weekend festivities will showcase an array of eclectic dining options, family entertainment and opportunities to enjoy historic Federal Hill. Festival Hours are: Oct. 6 to 7, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. On Sunday, Oct. 8, the festival runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.