Columbus Day Parade tradition continues in Chicago

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Monday, October 12, 2015
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Columbus Day Parade centered on tradition, organizers said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The 63 Annual Columbus Day Parade kicked off just after noon on State Street at Wacker Drive in Chicago's Loop.


"It's a beautiful holiday for Italians," Dominick Francese said. The Columbus Day Parade is a Chicago tradition from the songs and the queen to the marching bands and floats.

"It's important we remember our background, where we came from," Mary Nicosia said.

PHOTOS: 2015 Columbus Day Parade

The parade's theme, "The Time is Now", is aimed at getting young Italian Americans involved. Dominic DiFrisco stepped down as the color commentator at the parade after 46 years.

"I've decided to relinquish the role. It's time to move on the younger generation to keep legacy alive," Dominic DiFrisco said.

Columbus Day became an official Illinois holiday in 1963. It's named for the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus who came to America in 1492.

"Christopher Columbus was the first immigrant," DiFrisco said. "What followed Christopher Columbus was the wave of immigration, that new world America today."

While Chicago continues to celebrate Columbus Day, some other cities don't recognize it as a holiday because of how Columbus treated Native Americans. Organizers said Chicago's parade is about diversity.

"This type of parade- Polish, Irish- is something [that is] going to be part of Chicago for a long time," Den Angelo said.