The sun shined brightly on the 2016 Columbus Day Parade, which attracted one of the largest and most enthusiastic crowds in recent memory. The weather was glorious and the spectators stood five deep along State Street all the way from Monroe to Wacker.
Buses filled with volunteers and parade goers left the grounds of Casa Italia in the early morning for the Mass, with a second wave departing later in the morning and heading directly for the parade.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii was filled to capacity for the Mass, the altar was gorgeous with bouquets of flowers, and music resounded throughout. Father Fragomeni’s words were stimulating. JCCIA President Frank Cerrone greeted all. Rocky Mosele thanked the JCCIA for the honor of being named parade chairman.
The Marist Band brought tears to our eyes, and the Knights of Columbus were impressive as always. At Arrigo Park, the words of Marie Marsalli of the State Grand Lodge of the Order Sons of Italy in America were inspiring.
Then it was off to State Street for another great parade. Volunteers on foot and floats and in convertibles were waving flags of red, white, blue and green as far as the eye could see. Anthony Rago did another fine job in his second year as parade announcer.
Reigning over all was our Queen, Jaclyn Puccini, with her court — Bianca Antongiovanni, Iliana Caso, Rebecca Lucania Hernandez and Angelica Panzarino — at her side. Parade Marshal Lou Rago contributed mightily to another successful parade.
Then it was back to Casa Italia for another post-parade reception filled with great food and camaraderie.
How fortunate we are to have so many people participate in this celebration of our heritage. We owe a debt of thanks to the JCCIA leadership for upholding this legacy.