Crowds turn out despite rain for annual Columbus Day parade

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – It did in fact rain on the parade Sunday morning in Providence, but that didn’t dampen any of the rampant Italian spirit on Federal Hill.

Hundreds of people turned out despite the weather for the 26th annual Columbus Day parade, which stepped off at 11 a.m. on Harris Avenue. Ten marching bands, including one from the National Guard, participated as part of the annual Columbus Day Festival, which started Saturday and runs through Monday night. Eyewitness News anchors Mike Montecalvo and Caroline Goggin took part, along with Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca.

“This is a place that you’re never going to find anywhere else,” Chris Martellini said Sunday morning. “There’s only one Federal Hill.”

Eyewitness News anchors Caroline Goggin and Mike Montecalvo at Sunday morning’s parade. (WPRI-TV)

Some states have stopped celebrating Columbus Day as a state holiday, and other cities around the country have instead opted to celebrate some form of Indigenous Peoples’ Day because of the historical treatment of the natives of the Americas by Columbus and other European explorers.

Many people celebrating on Federal Hill said that the holiday isn’t just about the explorer, but has more broadly become an Italian holiday.

“It celebrates the Italian dream in America,” Ernie LaTorre said. “I think the fact that the Italians see this as a celebratory kind of experience is a reaffirmation of Italians in America.”