Philadelphia is one of the country’s most culturally rich and diverse cities — and one of the best parts about calling the City of Brotherly Love home is knowing that all of my fellow Philadelphians support and celebrate one another at every occasion, be it a parade, a fundraiser, or anything else. That said, I am pleased to say that I recently had the distinct privilege of co-hosting one of our city’s biggest annual cultural celebrations: The Columbus Day Parade. While Columbus Day is most often regarded as a significant date on the calendar for Italian-Americans, the celebration of the holiday itself is something for everyone, regardless of background and heritage.
Here in Philadelphia, the crowds that turn out to join the party every year are truly representative of not just our city, but our nation as well. That’s why I’m honored to have been a co-host for the 2016 installment, which took place on October 9th in South Philly. With Grand Marshall Danny Aiello, and alongside Action News’ Alicia Vitarelli and Italian historian Michael DiPilla,I had the pleasure of not only enjoying the parade’s sights and sounds, but the privilege of giving the play-by-play to the folks watching at home as well.
Given the sentiment that events like these inspire in me, and most assuredly in you as well, I wanted to take a few minutes to give you a short history lesson about Columbus Day in Philadelphia.
What is it?
While the holiday started out as an annual commemoration of Christopher Columbus’ landing this side of the Atlantic, concluding his voyage to America, it has since evolved into a cultural celebration primarily for Italian-Americans.
Who’s it for?
The Columbus Day festivities, especially the parade, are for everyone. You don’t have to be Italian to enjoy good music, food, and fun!
When is it?
Traditionally, we observe Columbus Day on the second Monday of October. The parade, though, is held on a weekend.
Where is it?
Columbus Day is celebrated throughout the city; however, the parade is held in South Philly, from Morris St. to Marconi Plaza. The festival is held at Marconi. There are vendors, shops, and markets that offer fine Italian foods, treats, and virtually everything else.
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