STAMFORD, Conn. — Italian-Americans from all over Fairfield County will celebrate Columbus Day with special events this weekend — and for many days throughout Italian Heritage Month this October.
Local festivities kick off with the Columbus Day Parade on Sunday, Oct. 11, promptly at noon in Stamford.
“They’re going to have a big turnout,” said Paul Hickey, executive director of the Italian Center of Stamford.
The parade runs from Schuyler Avenue to Columbus Park by way of West Broad Street, Broad Street, and Atlantic Street, according to parade organizers.
Many musical groups will perform along the parade route, including the West Point Band as well as Danny Vecchiano and the Giglio Band.
Lee Mazzilli, a former Major League Baseball player, coach, and manager is scheduled to make an appearance, according to event organizers.
There will also be plenty of dining options, including Italian food and pastries as well as free espresso at Columbus Park.
After the parade, many Italian-Americans — following tradition — will enjoy a family meal.
“Sundays are always family days” in Italian-American culture, Hickey said. “There’s always some kind of pasta and meat and usually a bottle of wine or two.”
“It’s always good to have a reason to celebrate,” Hickey added.
Hickey said the center is planning to host many special events throughout October in honor of Italian Heritage Month. Columbus Day is a “focal point" of the month, he said.
Columbus Day recognizes the arrival of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in the “New World’ on Oct. 12, 1492. Although the event had been celebrated in a number of communities, the federal government did not recognize it as a holiday until 1937.
Columbus has become engrained in American history and culture. Many landmarks in the United States are named after Columbus, including Columbia University and the District of Columbia.
It is now a local, state and federal holiday. Most schools and many workplaces are closed.
For more information on the Stamford Italian Center, click here .
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