2017 Columbus Day
The annual Columbus Day Parade is a celebration of Italian Heritage here in San Francisco and around the country. Italian immigrants helped make San Francisco the great city that it is. A. P. Gianinni built a small loan company into Bank of America. Others pioneered chocolate factories and fisheries. Italians played a large role in the history of San Francisco and it is for them that we celebrate Columbus Day.
We assembled around 10 am on Powell Street near Bay for what amounts to a tailgate party. We began with coffee and pastry and slowly transitioned into foccacia, wine, grapes and cheese, and other assorted snacks. We spent part of this time decorating our cars with the Italian colors, balloons, and flags in red, white, and green.
The parade begins around noon. We traveled down Jefferson surrounded by crowds of people. We turned onto Columbus Street and traveled up to Washington Square. The entire route is always lined with hundreds of people waving their Italian flags and celebrating the day.
At Washington Square the street narrows to one line. The street is filled to the center with tables of partygoers enjoying wine and lunch with friends and family.
The parade slowed to a crawl in front of the Italian Athletic Club. The Blue Angels flew overhead just as we passed before the reviewing stand in front of Saints Peter and Paul Church.
We heard the announcer call out the name of the San Francisco Model A Club and give a little background/history of the Ford cars passing by. We got a thumbs up and a cheer or two from the crowd as we passed by.
From there we reassembled at Boudin’s at Fisherman’s Wharf for cocktails and a wonderful meal, all the while viewing the Blue Angels as they performed their acrobatics above the bay just outside Boudin's expansive picture windows overlooking Alcatraz and Angel Island.
It is a great day and one of the annual events we look forward to each year. Thanks to Gary Barrango and Bob Fiorito of the Young Men's Institute, St John Bosco Council #613, San Francisco, for organizing this event and inviting the Club to participate. Thanks to everyone who participated. We will certainly do it again next year.
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Photos by Cynthia Torres, Earl Hibler, and Ralph Hoffschildt