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PHOTO — The Second Company Governor’s Foot Guard leads the 2017 edition of the Greater New Haven Columbus Day Parade on Campbell Avenue Sunday afternoon, Oct. 8. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)
WEST HAVEN, Oct. 10, 2017 — The 2017 edition of the Greater New Haven Columbus Day Parade celebrated the Italian explorer in grand style Sunday, Oct. 8.
Over the course of 90 minutes of festivity, the largest procession of its kind in New England sailed up Campbell Avenue and featured 80 marching units and 25 bands from across the region.
West Haven took over the Columbus Day Committee of Greater New Haven’s rotating parade from last year’s host, Hamden, assuming site duties for the annual procession that commemorates the adventurous spirit of Christopher Columbus, a son of Genoa who discovered the New World 525 years ago and charted a route for millions of Italian sons and daughters who followed his crossing to America.
Italian-American West Haveners Natalie Guiliano DeRosa and Grace Iannucci Hendricks guided the afternoon parade as grand marshals. A third marshal, city resident Marie D. Lacobelle, was unable to attend.
The procession stepped from Captain Thomas Boulevard north to Center Street, where revelers, many of them donning red, white and green and waving Italian flags, lined the 1 ½-mile course.
The event was also held in the city in 2006.
The parade began with an escort division led by the West Haven Police Color Guard, followed by the grand marshals with the West Haven High School Band, committee members and the Second Company Governor’s Foot Guard.
The procession, composed of five divisions, included just about every kind of group, marching unit, float and vehicle imaginable, such as police and fire departments, Italian-American societies, drill teams, drum and bugle and fife and drum corps, fraternal organizations and service clubs, school bands and nonmilitary color guards.
Among the dignitaries who marched were West Haven Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and state Rep. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven.
They were accompanied by Hamden Mayor Curt B. Leng, North Haven First Selectman Michael J. Freda and Branford First Selectman James B. Cosgrove, as well as radio personalities.
Guiliano DeRosa and Lacobelle, who are second- and first-generation Italian-Americans, respectively, are former recipients of the West Haven Columbus Day Committee’s Italian-American of the Year award, with Guiliano DeRosa receiving the civic honor in 2014 and Lacobelle in 2015. Iannucci Hendricks, a second-generation Italian-American, was the recipient of this year’s award recently.
All three are longtime members of the West Haven Italian-American Ladies Auxiliary.
To view the photo gallery, click on Scenes from the 2017 Greater New Haven Columbus Day Parade.
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— MICHAEL P. WALSH, Public Relations Information Coordinator