ABC7's Feature/Entertainment reporter and 190 NORTH host Janet Davies; Sports Anchor/Reporter Mark Giangreco; and President Emeritus, Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, Dominic Di Frisco, will serve as co-hosts during the station's two-hours of HD coverage. ABC 7 weathercaster Mike Caplan will capture the pageantry from the street.ABC 7 President and General Manager Emily Barr said, "We are proud, for the third consecutive year, to be a part of such a great Chicago tradition honoring this city's rich Italian-American heritage."
According to Jo Ann Serpico, president Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, "We value our partnership with ABC 7 -- the official station of the 2009 Columbus Day Parade and thank the station for all they do for our community. This year, we've added something new to our Columbus Day extravaganza--a five day Fiera Italiana festival in Daley Plaza. The festival is an exciting way to kick off our Columbus Day Parade tradition and heighten the passionate celebration of Italian culture."
The outdoor Fiera Italiana, hosted by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, is open to the public and will feature live entertainment, fashion and delicious food from October 5-9, 10 am-6 pm.
After Fiera Italiana, the fun continues on October 13th at 12:30 pm when the parade wends its way from Columbus and Balbo Drives, proceeding north to Monroe. Academy Award winner Ernest Borgnine, actor Larry Mannetti (Magnum P.I.) and members of the cast of Jersey Boys will be front and center as the parade's Honorary Grand Marshals. Lou Rago will serve as the parade's Grand Marshal. The 2009 Columbus Day Parade Chairman, Dominic Stramaglia, CEO of Supreme Lobster Company, will also be honored. This year's parade theme, "Italian Americans Contribution to the Food Industry" will salute Stramaglia and all the great Italian-American contributors to the food industry in Chicago.
Led by the Great Lakes Navy Band, over 150 contingents consisting of marchers, bands, drum and bugle corps and floats will participate in this two-hour civic celebration. The Chicago Police Department, Bagpipes and Drum of the Emerald Society, Mexican Folkloric Dance Group, African Dancers and Drum Groups and Polish Dancers will all be part of the celebration.
In addition, the Columbus Day Parade Queen, Natalie DeRose Loss, from Roselle, Illinois, will ride with her court on a special parade float.
The Columbus Day Parade will culminate with a huge reception in Grant Park (Columbus and Jackson) from 2:30-4:40 pm, featuring Italian food and entertainment including the music of Anthony M. Rago, Tony Ocean and Josie Falbo among others. There will be no admission charge.
The Columbus Day Parade celebrates Christopher Columbus and his monumental voyage which was first acknowledged in Illinois in 1963 when it became a legal holiday in the state.
The Columbus Day Parade is produced for ABC 7 Chicago by Executive Producer of Local Programming, Christopher Bowen.