SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Expect a busy Sunday in downtown San Francisco as the Italian Heritage Festival and Parade coincides with the United States Navy’s Blue Angels and the ending of Fleet Week.
The parade will begin at Jefferson and Powell streets in Fisherman’s Wharf at 12:30 p.m. and make its way down Columbus Avenue to Washington Square Park, in front of Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in North Beach.
The parade, which started in 1868, coincides annually with the day before Columbus Day, but it dropped the name of the controversial explorer in 1994. San Francisco renamed Columbus Day to both Indigenous People’s Day and Italian-American Heritage Day in 2018, as KRON4 reported at the time.
The parade’s grand marshals will be Randy DeMartini, the executive director of the Salesian Boys and Girls Club, and Larry Mazzola Jr., the president of the city’s building and construction trades council.
“Growing up in North Beach, like so many others, The ‘Club,’ as we refer to it, became an integral part of our childhoods,” DeMartini stated in a news release. “It’s a safe place for kids and teens in San Francisco to learn, grow and thrive. I’m honored to represent 100 years of the Salesian Boys & Girls Club as a Grand Marshal in this year’s Italian Heritage Parade.
Joe Ciarallo, a spokesman for the parade and festival, told KRON4 News that the decision to honor Mazzola came from the long history of Italian Americans in the labor movement.
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The parade will also feature the U.S. Navy band and 80 other marching groups, bands and performers from around the Bay Area, as well as District 2 (Marina-Pacific Heights) Supervisor Catherine Stefani, State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), City Attorney David Chiu, and San Francisco Italian Counsul General Sergio Strozzi.
Ciarallo said that the day will be “fun for the whole family” and people should check out the “many food options along the route.”