Columbus Day Parade in North End — Gallery

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While the second Monday in October is reserved for celebrating the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus, the celebration in the North End of Boston started a day early.

Atlantic Avenue and Hanover Street were lined with people on the Sunday before Columbus Day, both young and old, locals and tourists to honor something more than just the discovery of the land they call home — their heritage.

“I’ve been coming to watch this parade for most of my whole life,” Jan Balducci, a native New Englander said. “My parents used to bring my brother and I when we were children, so to us it’s a celebration of family more than anything.”

Balducci, 56, moved to Vermont more than 30 years ago but her family still comes to Boston every Columbus Day weekend to spend time together, watch the parade and enjoy the some of the North End’s great cuisine.

The parade, which began in 1937, kicked off at 1 p.m. with a flurry of marching bands, costumed explorers, floats and military groups marching to celebrate Italian heritage and a commitment to American freedom.

The spectators that lined the streets of North End on Sunday view Columbus Day not just as pageantry dedicated to one man, but as a celebration of their vibrant community.

“To me this is all about where my parents came from and the community that my family was a part of growing up,” Balducci said. “My brother and I both brought our kids here when they were little and now they are doing the same with theirs, it’s just a great community and this parade really brings that out.”


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(Photo by Joshua Schrock)

–Written by Joshua Schrock