With Italian and American flags in hand, hundreds of residents celebrated Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World, a beautiful day at the park, good food and, of course, being Italian at Sunday’s holiday parade.
"Every year I come to this parade. It is wonderful that Italian Americans are recognized for their accomplishments in this country," said spectator Millie Giafaglione.
Several string bands strutted their stuff in the 48th annual Columbus Day Parade on South Broad Street. Also taking part were the St. Monica School band and students from St. Maria Goretti High School and St. Richard School, among others.
"It is a great day for the people in South Philadelphia," said onlooker Vince DiPietro.
As part of the festivities, food from renowned South Philadelphia restaurants was served in Marconi Plaza, Broad and Oregon.
A political undertone was present at Sunday’s parade. Supporters of Republican mayoral candidate Sam Katz and Democratic Mayor John Street were in the crowd, and both took the opportunity to voice their opinions. Both candidates were on hand for the event, as were City Council President Anna Verna, state Sen. Vince Fumo, U.S. Rep Bob Brady and other elected officials.
"Politics is what they do. It will not hinder us from watching the parade," said Joe and Marie Lerro.
This year’s grand marshal was opera singer Michael Amante. And, just as in the past 47 years, the parade marshal was Severino Verna, local businessman and Anna Verna’s husband.