Of many celebrations that still mark the discovery of America, the biggest ones for consumers are the annual Columbus Day sales by major retailers coast to coast offering early fall bargains on furniture and winter apparel.
And, of course, there are the parades! The one in NYC is by far the largest, grandest and most popular, welcoming over 1 million spectators annually. This year, the annual Columbus Day Parade in NYC takes place on Monday, October 8, 2012 beginning at 11:45 AM – as huge lunchtime crowds come out to cheer along the parade route up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street north to 79th Street.
The vibrant glory of Italian American culture and heritage will take center stage on Fifth Avenue on Monday, October 8 celebrating Columbus Day with the 68th Annual Columbus Day Parade.
The parade will feature 35,000 marchers and over 100 contingents, including virtuoso performances of traditional and contemporary Italian and Italian-American music and dance, street performers, historical and contemporary floats, over a dozen marching bands, and national and international dignitaries.
The parade turns Fifth Avenue into a reverberating canyon of music, dance, and theatrical displays set amid a sea of red, white, and green – the colors of the Italian tri-color flag.
The Grand Marshal will be Mario Gabelli, philanthropist, namesake of the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business and founder, chairman and chief executive officer of GAMCO Investors.
Appearing on the Red Carpet in performances broadcast by WABC-TV will be Elise Testone, Season 11 American Idol contestant, members of the U.S. Marine Corps Band, tenor Christopher Temporelli, and cast members of Seti Mundo (The Seven Worlds).
Meanwhile, another big celebration happens on the West Coast as Columbus Day is observed during San Francisco Fleet Week – when the city’s Italian American population joins in to salute the US Navy while commemorating the famous Italian who brought his three famous ships to America in 1492.
What’s closed on Columbus Day?
Despite it being a normal workday for many Americans, Columbus Day is an official federal government holiday with the post office and banks closing in honor of the day (although Wall Street stock markets still stay open as usual.)
On Columbus Day, American Indians are also given equal time in many areas where Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated, usually with colorful native festivals and pow-wows to which the public are warmly welcomed.