Chicago celebrates Columbus Day

October 12, 2009 4:40:18 PM PDT
It was a tribute to the old country as Italian Americans honored their heritage at the Columbus Day Parade. It's a day that, for many, has a special meaning."I have two countries. I don't know which one comes first. I'm over here now, and America is first. When I go there first is Italy," said Frank Frazzini, Italian American.

"It should instill in us hope, pride and the future of this country and all of our children," said Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward.

Alderman Fioretti was one of many politicians who walked the parade route on Columbus Drive. Joining them was Honorary Grand Marshall Ernest Borgnine. The 92-year-old Oscar-winning actor says this is a day for everyone to celebrate.

"I'm very happy that a good amount of people showed up to honor not only Christopher Columbus but, hey, we're here and we're proud of our pizza!" said Borgnine.

Many people in the crowd were Italian at heart.

"Don't tell my Irish friends, but I like it better than the St. Patrick's Day parade," said Tim Casey.

More than a hundred bands and floats filled the streets of downtown Chicago. One float carrying some familiar faces belonged to abc7, which played a big part in the parade because we also televised it live.

Still, Clara Santucci wanted to brave the elements and see it in person.

"Beautiful to see the parade. It's too cold," said Santucci.

This is the 57th year of the parade, and this year's theme is saluting the contributions Italian Americans have made to the food industry. But what's evident is the overall pride in their culture.

If you missed the parade, you can watch our re-broadcast of the Columbus Day Parade this Sunday at 12:30 p.m. right here on ABC7. It is also available on demand on our website.


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