Italian festival hosts Columbus parade
After nearly 20 years Downtown and five years of lackluster attendance, the Columbus Day Italian Heritage Parade is moving to Bloomfield on Saturday and will coincide with Bloomfield’s Little Italy Days, which started two years ago.
Moving the parade to Bloomfield during the ethnic festival seemed like a natural solution to rising costs and flagging attendance, parade coordinator Michael Tarquinio said. Fewer and fewer people were attending the parades at Point State Park. About 10,000 people showed up last year.
Tarquinio expects to see about 15,000 people each year. Columbus Day is Oct. 13.
He’s impressed by the lengths Bloomfielders are going to create the setting for the Italian extravaganza. The curbs are painted red, white and green, and Italian-American flags are hanging from lamp posts
“It’s really something to see. And we have worked really hard to put on a nice, old-fashioned parade — the kind that was put on 70 years ago,” Tarquinio said.
Moving the parade gives corporate sponsors and private donors who foot the $40,000 bill the most bang for their buck, he said.
Bloomfield Business Association President Gloria LaDonne, whose organization sponsors the festival, said her crew is equally enamored with the partnership.
“It’s nice to have the city’s Italian parade in Pittsburgh’s Italian community,” LaDonne said.
Entertainment and ceremonies are staged on Cedarville Street. Activities begin at 11 a.m. today and run through Sunday. Little Italy Days will include entertainment, contests and more. The Columbus Day parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday on Liberty Avenue between Aspen and Ella streets.
The festival closes at 10 p.m. nightly
Parking at West Penn Hospital garage along Millvale Avenue and at Pittsburgh Brewing Company costs $3 a day. Complimentary shuttle service from the brewery is provided.