Columbus Day Parade Guide 2017

From Boston to San Francisco, here are some of the biggest Columbus Day parades stepping off this weekend.

Boston, MA

Sunday, October 8th

Boston’s spectacular Columbus Day Parade celebrates the historic city’s Italian heritage, Christopher Columbus’s expeditions to the Americas, and the commitment of Massachusetts military units to American freedom.

You’ll see an eclectic mix of marching brass bands, military units and Colonial militias, Italian-American organizations, saints’ societies, drum and bugle corps, Duck Boat floats, politicians, entertainers, vintage autos, and even bagpipes.

The parade always occurs on the Sunday before Columbus Day. It’s been held in the North End and East Boston neighborhoods since 1937.

In odd-numbered years (2017, 2019, 2021), the parade kicks off at in Boston at the Boston Public Market near City Hall Plaza and winds through the North End’s narrow streets – Atlantic Ave, Hanover Street, Endicott.

Chicago, IL

Monday, October 9th

For nearly half a century, the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans has sponsored Chicago’s Columbus Day celebration. Festivities begin with a mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii and a wreath laying ceremony at the Columbus Statue located in Arrigo Park, followed by the parade.  The parade of over 150 floats, bands and marching units travels down State Street, from Wacker Drive to VanBuren Street.

Many prominent Italian-Americans have been honorary parade Grand Marshals, including Ernest Borgnine and Tommy LaSorda.

Cleveland, OH

Monday, October 9th

The 65th annual Cleveland Columbus Day Parade will step off at noon on Monday, Oct. 9. The parade will take place in Little Italy, where it moved in 2003 after decades downtown.

The 15th parade in Little Italy will begin at Murray Hill and Cornell Roads and proceed north to East 125th Street and Fairview, then turn north on Fairview and march back to Mayfield past Holy Rosary Church.

The parade will feature more than 100 groups, including marching bands from Mayfield, Garfield Heights, Holy Name and other high schools. The Knights of Columbus, local Italian associations and Little Italy Montessori school will also march in the parade.

New York, NY

Monday, October 9th

Carve out a spot along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue for a family-friendly celebration filled with colorful floats and rousing musical performances. The parade honors Italian-Americans’ contributions to New York City and draws around million spectators and 35,000 marchers.

The parade travels from 44th Street to 72nd Street and marching bands will perform along its length, and there’s also a “red carpet” area between 67th and 69th Streets for stage acts—special passes are needed to get up close. For more information, visit

Pittsburgh, PA

Saturday, October 7th

The Saturday before Columbus Day always turns Pittsburgh’s Little Italy into one big celebration.

And even though the old Bloomfield neighborhood is affectionately known as “Little Italy,” there’s actually nothing small about the annual Columbus Day parade. Thousands line Liberty Avenue to see everyone from Pittsburgh politicians to pint-sized pageant queens.

The 32nd annual parade will step off at 11 a.m. at Bloomfield Liberty Avenue.

San Francisco, CA

Sunday, October 8th

Columbus Day’s three-day holiday weekend delivers San Francisco’s oldest civic event — the nation’s first Italian-American Columbus Day Parade. Introduced in 1869, the free event has continued growing, with colorful marching bands, floats and plenty of people waving red, white and green flags to celebrate Italian pride. The Italian Heritage Parade kicks off from Fisherman’s Wharf beginning at 12:30 p.m. and finishes in North Beach on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017.

Spectators are treated to dozens of handcrafted parade floats from Bay Area businesses, community groups, Italian organizations, local high school Italian clubs and marching bands. Traditional Italian musicians and performance artists led by grand marshals are on show, as well as special character appearances by Christopher Columbus, Queen Isabella and her court.

Make the pledge and become a member of Italian Sons of Daughters of America today!

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