ABC 7 President and General Manager Emily Barr said, "We are proud, for the second 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 are looking forward to continuing our partnership with ABC 7 as the official station of the 2008 Columbus Day Parade. This year, the salute to our heritage will have even more exposure with two hours of commercial free Columbus Day Parade coverage. Another exciting aspect of the celebration will be a huge 'after the parade' reception in Grant Park from 2:30-5:00 pm."
The fun begins when the parade wends its way from Columbus and Balbo Drives, proceeding north on Monroe with this year's theme, "Italian-Americans Salute the Performing and Visual Arts," honoring Joe Mantegna, Dennis Farina, Frank Sinatra, Buddy Greco, Frankie Laine, Tony Bennett and Luciano Pavarotti and others. Also featured will be some of the best marching bands in the city including the Great Lakes Naval Band, and for the first time, the Loyola Academy Marching Ramblers. The renowned Jesse White Tumblers will also perform.
In addition, the Columbus Day Parade Queen, Christina Cotuno, from Naperville, Illinois, will ride with her court on a special parade float sponsored by parade chairman, Donald Mazzoni.
There will be a post-parade celebration in Grant Park (Columbus and Jackson) beginning at 2:30 pm, featuring Italian food and free entertainment including the music of Anthony M. Rago, the Joe Vito Orchestra and jazz singer and guitarist Frank D'Rone among others.
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, Crick Bowen.