Columbus Day 2011 events

A variety of celebrations including religious services, a ceremony in a Near West Side park, and the annual downtown parade will be held Monday, October 10, in observance of Columbus Day.
A Mass honoring the Italian born explorer will begin at 9 a.m. that day at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, 1225W. Lexington St., with the Rev. Richard Fragomeni as celebrant.
At 10 a.m., the public is invited to a memorial in Victor Arrigo Park, 801 S. Loomis St., for the placing of a wreath near the statue of Christopher Columbus.
At 12:30 p.m. the official Chicago Columbus Day parade steps off from Balbo and Columbus Drives in the South Loop, with marchers heading north toward Randolph Street. The downtown festivities will end around 2:30 p.m.
The Joint Civic Committee of Italian-Americans – JCCIA – has arranged bus service to the celebrations, with departures from Casa Italia, 1621 N. 39th Ave. in Stone Park, IL, at 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. Casa Italia also will host the JCCIA’s post parade reception. Cost for the JCCIA transportation and reception is 25 dollars for adults and 10 dollars for children; special rates available for anyone interested in attending the reception only. There will be a cash bar offering beer and wine.
Reservations are advised. Call (708) 450-9050 for information. The year’s parade chair is the counsel general of Italy in Chicago, Alessandro Motta. Parade marshal is Louis Rago, and serving alongside them as honorary parade marshals will be Buddy Valastro, the celebrity baker and cable TV star, and Josette Mentesana Weber, Casa Italia’s chair of culture and education.

Columbus Day 2011 events
Columbus Day.

Monday is Columbus Day 2011 and many banks, state and local offices as well as U.S. post offices will be closed. Among the biggest celebrations is in New York, where the Columbus Day Parade will begin at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time, lasting until about 3 p.m.
New York’s Columbus Day Parade starts on Fifth Avenue at 44th Street and continues up Fifth to 79th Street. There is a Columbus Day Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street and Fith Avenue at 9:30 a.m. on Monday.
The Columbus Citizens Foundation has been organizing New York’s Columbus Day Parade since 1929. More than 35,000 participate in the parade each year, including more than 100 groups sporting floats, bands and an assortment of entries. Some one million spectators view the parade – including almost 500,000 lining the streets to watch live – and it is among the largest celebrations of Italian-American culture in the world.
Traditionally, Columbus Day is held on the second Monday in October.
The first record of an event commemorating Columbus Day in the United States was on October 12, 1792. Columbus Day celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus; ‘discovering’ the United States.
Columbus arrived in the Americas on October 12, 1492. Observance of Columbus Day varies throughout the United States. It became an official holiday in Colorado in 1906, and a federal holiday in 1937, although Hawaii and South Dakota do not recognize Columbus Day at all.
In New York, and in other cities around the country, Columbus Day celebration is a big, annual event, however. From the press relese of the Columbus Citizens Foundation regarding this year’s Columbus Day Parade in New York -
“On October 10, 2011, Fifth Avenue will be transformed during the Columbus Day Parade, the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American culture. The parade was led by Grand Marshal Joseph Plumeri, proud philanthropist, and Chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings.”
The Columbus Day Parade is a fun filled Parade that gets bigger and better every year. Participants from all over the world march in our Parade with pride.
“This is already a special year for us, as we have invited and received confirmation from some of the most talented performers. Pia Toscano (American Idol Favorite) as well as the Italian Musical, ‘The Italian Fairy’ are just some of the notable performers. The Sacred Heart University Marching Band as well as Stony Brook University Marching Band will be just a few of our new and exciting musical acts in the Parade. This year, the Parade will be marching up Fifth Avenue from 44th to 72nd Street. The grandstands will be located on Fifth Avenue between 67th and 69th Streets.”

The Greater New Haven Columbus Day Parade sails into the shore of Connecticut’s youngest city October 9 with the largest procession of its kind in the state, showcasing 100 marching units and 20 bands from throughout the region.
West Haven takes over the Columbus Day Committee’s rotating parade from last year’s host, Hamden, assuming site duties for the annual procession that celebrates the Italian explorer who discovered the New World 519 years ago.
“Christopher Columbus charted a course for generations of Italians who followed his crossing to America” – said Mayor John M. Picard, whose Italian roots run on his late mother’s side of the family. “Now we are about to embark on our own voyage in West Haven’s second Columbus Day parade as we reflect on the myriad contributions Italian-Americans have made to our nation and the world.”
More than 15 million Americans claim Italian heritage, including about 40 percent of West Haven’s residents, Picard estimated.
Picard has tapped a prominent city Italian-American, former Campbell Avenue businessman Mario G. Coppola, to lead the two-hour parade as grand marshal when it steps off at 1 p.m.
Coppola (65) who owned Mario & Joseph Men’s Shop for three decades, has the honor of helming the procession along the 1 1/2-mile route that leaves from Captain Thomas Boulevard and goes up Campbell Avenue to Center Street and Savin Avenue, where American and Italian flags line the way.
To make the parade more of a regional event and attract more spectators, the committee decided to rotate the traditional New Haven parade site eight years ago among North Haven, East Haven, Hamden and West Haven. Since then, the procession has grown larger each year, said Coppola’s son, committee Chairman Mario F. Coppola of Milford.
“Our committee has been working hard since the beginning of the year to organize and fundraise for this year’s Columbus Day parade, which is a celebration of our great Italian-American community in the Greater New Haven area” – said Coppola, a lawyer at the Westport firm Berchem, Moses & Devlin. “We anticipate that this year’s parade may be the largest parade to ever take place in the city of West Haven.”
The parade begins with an escort division led by the West Haven Police Department’s Motor Unit and Honor Guard, followed by the grand marshal with the West Haven High School Band, parade committee members and the Second Company Governor’s Foot Guard.

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