ABC7 celebrates Italian American Heritage Month with Chicago Columbus Day Parade

ABC7 Windy City Weekend anchors Val Warner, Ryan Chiaverini hosted hourlong event

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Monday, October 11, 2021
The downtown Chicago parade was canceled last year due to the COVID pandemic.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- ABC7, Chicago's most-watched television station, celebrated the city's vibrant Italian American community with the broadcast of the 69th annual Columbus Day Parade.

The hourlong event was hosted by ABC7 Windy City Weekend anchors Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini. They were joined in the broadcast booth by Anthony Rago, Italian American Human Relations Foundation board member, who contributed commentary. The parade aired Monday, Oct. 11, at 1 p.m. and was also available on and ABC7's connected TV apps. October is Italian American Heritage Month.

WATCH: Chicago Columbus Day Parade organizer speaks on tradition, controversy

"We are so proud to be partnering once again with ABC 7," said Ron Onesti, president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans. "The Columbus Day Parade is a generations-old tradition that celebrates the contributions made by Italians to this great country."

WATCH: Columbus Day Parade Part 1

After an absence in 2020 due to the pandemic, the parade, produced by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, was proud to kick off once again from iconic State Street and Wacker Drive. The 2021 theme, "Columbus and the American Dream," recalls how Italian American and other immigrants worked to make a better life in America. The memory of the late Jasper B. Sanfilippo, a businessman who throughout his life supported Italian American initiatives and charities, was saluted this year. His five children, co-chairpersons of the parade, led the line of march in honor of their father.

WATCH: Columbus Day Parade Part 2

Proud Italian American celebrities showcased this year included Chicago's very own The Buckinghams, Danny Seraphine, the original drummer from the band Chicago and tenor Pasqaule Esposito. The renowned Jesse White Tumblers were again part of the 2021 festivities that included marching bands, floats and dignitaries.

WATCH: Columbus Day Parade Part 3

The parade featured more than 15 different ethnic groups representing the diverse fabric of Chicago.