Chicago celebrates Columbus Day!

October 11, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The two-hour salute to Columbus, and the city's Italian-American community, featured dozens of marching bands and floats.

It was a perfect day for a parade -- more like summer than fall. Lots of people were out to enjoy the day and the floats. There was the usual lineup of politicians, but also a very special grand marshal...

"I should have managed here," said Grand Marshal Tommy Lasorda. "You should have," Sen. Dick Durbin told the former Dodgers skipper.

Lasorda comes to the Cubs? Now that's a Columbus Day headline. But, no.

Sadly, when pressed further, the former Dodgers coach said, "I wish I could but I can't. I'm a Dodger. Sixty-two years with the Dodgers."

Still, it was a fun day. There were marching bands and the old Chicago Police Department squad cars were certainly one of the highlights. ABC 7'S Kathy Brock, Sylvia Perez, Paul Meincke, Steve Dolinsky, and Jessica D'onofrio were also there.

And, while not all the spectators were Italian-American, it was certainly a celebration of all things Italy.

"Columbus is watching over us for giving us such beautiful weather. I'm just so proud of being Italian. I just couldn't miss it. I couldn't," said Lisa Salveggio, parade spectator.

"It's beautiful. I even made my Italian flag scarf because I can't buy it," said Nancy Anello, parade spectator.

While the parade and the beautiful weather were certainly the day's highlight, Columbus Day celebrations started early Monday.

First there was a special mass at the Shrine of our Lady of Pompeii. And, later, there was a procession to Little Italy's Arrigo Park, where a wreath was laid at Columbus Plaza. A 9-foot bronze statue of the Italian navigator at the park was sculpted in Italy by an American artist for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

"It's right to memorialize Christopher Columbus. The most famous voyage of all time is what fueled the engine of our community," said Jo Ann Serpico, Joint Civic Community of Italian Americans.

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