JCCIA launches another great parade down State Street

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7Anticipating the aura of Columbus Day became reality on Monday, Oct. 12. It was everything I had envisioned, only more spectacular.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii was filled to capacity, the altar gorgeous with bouquets of flowers, the music resounding throughout the Mass. Father Fragomeni’s words were stimulating. JCCIA President Frank Cerrone greeted all. Parade Chairman Sal Perricone gave emotional closing comments. The Marist Band brought tears to our eyes, and the Knights of Columbus were impressive as always. At Arrigo Park, the words of Marie Marsalli of the State Grand Lodge of the Order Sons of Italy in America were inspiring.

This year, JCCIA President Emeritus Dominic DiFrisco retired from announcing the television broadcast. Dominic’s talents on Columbus Day will be missed, but his role since 1975 as the voice of the Italian community will continue. Anthony Rago did an admirable job as our new television announcer.

Volunteers on foot and floats and in convertibles were waving flags of red, white, blue and green as far as the eye could see. The spectators lined five deep along each side of State Street were as enthusiastic as the parade participants. Free bus transportation provided by Sal Perricone swelled the crowds. Reigning over all was our Queen, Jessica Maplede, with her court — Angela Scavo Reynolds, Elizabeth Villaiano Carroll, and Nikkie Pecora Haines — at her side. Parade Marshal Lou Rago contributed mightily to another successful parade.

Domenco Gambino outdid himself with an unparalleled post-parade celebration at Casa Italia. Sal Perricone sponsored entertainment provided by Ron Onesti. Eating, dancing, singing and enjoying were the highlights of the reception.

How fortunate we are to have so many people participate in this celebration of our heritage. We owe a debt of thanks to the JCCIA leadership for upholding this legacy.

— Jo Ann Serpico

















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Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

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