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Columbus Day went off without a hitch!

Columbus Day 2011 was one of those magical times when every well-calculated plan happened just as designed. God blessed us with perfect weather for spectators to come and enjoy our most awesome parade.

Mass at Pompeii as always was most inspiring. Fr. Fragomeni announced Fr. John Belmonte would be delivering the much anticipated Columbus Day homily. Fr. Belmonte certainly was an excellent choice. The thundering drums of the Marist Band are always the highlight of the recessional. This 120-strong marching unit led us out of church to Arrigo Park.

The wreath-laying ceremony is by far as well attended as the Mass. We are so grateful to the members of our Italian-American community who participate year after year. Then on to donuts, hot dogs, coffee and milk at the Shrine.

As we arrived, the parade route was laden with floats positioned three abreast awaiting their personnel. The clamor of the bands rehearsing on the sidelines was so invigorating. Our guests from Italy, Coro Presanella of Pinzolo in Val Rendona of the Trentino/Aldo Adige Region of Italy, entertained all the surrounding participants waiting for the parade to begin with regional songs sang a cappella. This year, we far exceeded the typical number of personnel on floats and spectators. The sight of our Italian and American flags waving promoted a celebration envied by all. As we march down Columbus Drive in all our glory, we were seen live on the World Wide Web and ABC 7 cable station.

Our reception at Casa Italia went beyond just food, drink and entertainment. It was the coming together of hundreds of Italian Americans and others to unite and celebrate, not only Christopher Columbus, but also the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy. There was nothing that could have been improved on. Consul General Alessandro Motta and his entourage and our honorary Grand Marshal, Josette Mentesana Weber, were honored with everyone’s presence.

It takes many people many months to plan and orchestrate the parade. Our JCCIA office already has the drawing board out and blue print are laid for 2012.

This column is dedicated to offering a sincere THANK YOU to the hundreds of volunteers who gave so willingly of their time to insure our Columbus Day parade and reception were a beautiful display of our pride for the whole world to see and for all to enjoy.

MILLE GRAZIE TO OUR COLUMBUS DAY VOLUNTEERS!

Vince Amore * Robert Anzaldi Jr. * James Bassi * James Battista * Mark Battista * Rose Mary Bellenger * Tomasina Bellino * Albert Belmonte * Anna Bohringer * Tomasina Bolda * Jack Brisino * Kathy Brisino * Joe Bruno * Mr. & Mrs. Nick Caiafa * Mayor Anthony Calderone * Peter Camaci * Pat Camioni * Michael Castellan * Robert Cavallo * Christine Cerami * Sam Chiappetta * Joe Chiappetta * Alanna Chiefari * Anne Ciaccio * Tomasina Cirrincione * John Coli * Nancy Cometa * Deano Dalaly * Donna Dastice * James Dastice * Velda Davino * John D’Avola * Mary De Santo * Jerry De Simone * Carlo De Benedictis * Joseph De Leo * Dominick Di Frisco * Josie Falbo * Donald Ferrone * Nino Follino * Domenico Gambino * Bobby Ganassin * Dan Garramone * Raymond Garro * Pasquale Genova * Jim Glimco * Maggie Glimco * Fran Goldstein * John Gorman * Dean Gorter * Sandra Grande * Iliana Incandela * Dan Italia * Anthony Italia * Lilia Juarez * Frank La Salvia * Sonny La Salvia * Nancy Larkin * Frank Laspisa * Sebastian Lorenzo * Frank Mancari * Teri Manzardo * Laverne Marcheschi * Darrell Marchioretto * Robert Mariano * Sam Marzo * Sonny May * Bobby Migliorini * Jack Miucci * Norma & Michael Molinaro * Michael Montino * Emilio Morrone * Mr. & Mrs. George Muccianti * Frank Mudugno * Erik Muellner * Jim Nacarato * Sam Natale * Dennis Natale * Sonny Nicotera * Gail Nigliorini * Shrine Auxiliary Our Lady of Pompeii * Marie Palello * Theresa Paterno * Richard Pellegrino * Joe Perillo * Tomasina Perry * Alfa Pollidoro * Robert Provenzano * Christopher Provenzano * Mike Provenzano * Louis Rago * Anthony Rago * Joseph Rago * Gabriella Rago * Mia Rose Rago * Louis R. Rago * Michael Rago * Rose Mary Ranallo * Frank Renucci * Mary Ann Reynolds * Dara Lynn Rist * Joseph Ritrovato * Robert Rossi * Michelle Sachs * Roy & Camille Salerno * Yolanda Salerno * Hon. Angelo “Skip” Saviano * Sam Scardino * Michelle Schmidt * Demi Schmidt * Terry Schultz * Mayor Ronald Serpico * Naomi Serpico * President Peter Silvestri * Chuck Silvestry * Joanne Spata * James Stegall * Dominic Stramaglia * Robert Syracuse * Karen Tenerelli * Joe Trimarco * Senatore Renato Turano * Umberto Turano * Diane Vlach * Carlo Wachmann * Steve Wojcik

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Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.