A great Bridgeport tradition took place in the city last weekend, as residents celebrated the 103rd annual Columbus Day Parade on Sunday, Oct. 9. The parade was sponsored by the Council of Italian American Societies. The weekend also featured the 24th annual free 2nd Marine Division Band Concert, which was held at The Klein Memorial Auditorium Friday and Saturday nights.
Spanning the continental United States, the musicians of the Second Marine Division Band entertain audiences at more than 225 performances each year. Patriotic favorites, familiar marches, traditional classics, big band sounds, jazz, country and popular contemporary music were on tap for this year’s performances, explained Chris Caruso, the concert chairman.
This year some special happenings took place as concert goers were asked to bring one nonperishable food item for distribution to veterans in need by the Bridgeport Veterans Affairs Office and the Marine Band performed with special recognition of the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
The Marine Band made a special appearance at this year’s parade and was a definite hit, hitting full stride shortly after the start at the corner of Wayne Street and Jewett Avenue.
“I heard they were great,” said Bridgeport resident Kevin Connery. “But with my luck they stopped playing right where my friend and myself were standing.”
Not everyone can be lucky, but Connery and company could be delighted with the parade’s many other attractions, which included classic cars, the Gaelic Pipe Band, high school bands, floats, circus clowns, WICC radio morning man Tony Reno, Barnum Festival Ringmaster Frank Carroll and Mayor Bill Finch. The parade was dedicated to the memory of Vincent Vizzo, World War II veteran and longtime community activist and CIAS member.
The parade stretched south to Madison Avenue where it ended at Beers Street at the entrance to the parking lot of Central High School. The reviewing stand was located one block before the end of the parade at Micalizzi’s Italian Ices, 712 Madison Ave.
he grand marshal was Joseph Ambrosini, business manager of Local 665, Laborers International Union of North America, who said, “Many new attractions and local personalities were featured in this year’s parade, including, Tony Reno, WICC 60 morning radio personality and host of the ‘Italian House Party,’ the 1st Company Governor’s Horse Guard of Avon, the 2nd U.S. Marine Division Band from Camp Lejeune, N.C., Frank Carroll, 2011 Barnum Festival ringmaster, local high school bands, the Fairfield Gaelic Pipe Band, fife and drum corps, clowns from the Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey Circus, classic cars, floats, large helium- filled character balloons, the Pyramid Shriners mini cycles, area dignitaries, including Mayor Finch, area police and fire departments and much more.”