Archive | 9:39 pm

Italians Sail Past 5th Ave. on Columbus Day

18 Oct


     The trifecta of weekend parades came to an incredible end with a festive celebration of Italian culture and contribution to America in the 67th annual Columbus Day Parade on 5th Ave. Rachel and I took in all the excitement as the crowd was eager to see Italian pride and heritage on display for all to see and no one was disappointed. The event is the largest display of Italian American culture and globally televised for millions of viewers.   The parade officially kicked off when the mounted police rode up 5th Ave. and soon followed by the Honorable Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.  Although these two titans of NYC life are beloved by many, they were getting things warmed up for NY Governor Andrew Cuomo who worked the crowd like a rock star. He stopped and shook hands of many spectators and walked proudly up 5th Ave. to cheers. Parade sponsors, Columbus Citizens Foundation, appeared with their float and got the crowd ready for a fun-filled day. A parade  just isn’t a parade without a marching band and there were more than you can twirl a baton to. One of the first to open the parade was the impressive East Meadow Marching Band followed by the Stoney Brook University Seawolves Marching Band.



     A definite crowd pleaser were the firefighters from Genoa Italy and their vintage fire truck. They came to pay homage to the First Responders on 9/11 and share in the brotherhood that firefighters embrace from all parts of the world over. The blaring sirens got the crowd cheering and set the stage for the Nine float of the dancing ladies, even though there were only eight dancers each one more lovely than the next. They were followed by Miss USA 2011, Alyssa Campanella, as she was driven in a navy blue Maserati. Not sure which one looked nicer.  American Idol star Pia Toscano arrived in her float with her songs coming from the loudspeakers as her fans applauded and sang along.  A child favorite was the Italian Fairy singing Italian songs and dressed in a colorful costume with one of the longest trains in the colors of the Italian flag.  Connetouot HS Marching Band got the crowd worked up some more while the West Islip HS marching band played Taio Cruz Dynamite to perfection.  Then the marching bands just kept seemingly better than the other. Next up was the E. Tresper Clarke Marching band followed by Sewanhaka Central Marching band.  Tough to decide who had the edge as they were both amazing.



     It’s always great to see visitors from the native country come visit and participate in the parade. An Italian choir, Coro In Congendo, marched their way up the parade route singing native songs. A folk band, La Damigiana, played festive songs with instruments hardly seen here in the US. They were a crowd pleaser with their upbeat music and even got Archbishop Dolan to have some fun. Rachel and I met up later and agreed the Italians spared no expense to make this one of the premiere parades of the city. Some of the over 500,000 spectators were treated to some of the best marching bands in the tri state area and a flavor of Italian culture.. I was even tempted to take slice from a woman’s pizza hat.



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