Tens of thousands of marchers, together with dozens of marching bands and floral boats, on Monday took to the famed Fifth Avenue on Manhattan Island, New York City, to celebrate the Columbus Day.
The parade, the 69th of the kind, was also meant to honor Italian Americans' contributions to the Big Apple, a pet name for New York City, said the event organizers, who said there were 35, 000 marchers for this year's parade.
Amid drumbeat and accompanied by bagpipe playing, marchers, clad in traditional Italian costumes, started midtown Manhattan and proudly walked northward on the Fifth Avenue, waving to crowds of spectators clinging behind metal fences used to cordon off both sides of the avenue, while some of the marchers chanted folk songs.
Among the marchers were celebrities including New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, retiring New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as mayoral candidates Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota.
Both de Blasio, a mayoral hopeful representing the Democratic Party, and Lhota, a Republican, seized the chance to impress the onlookers with plenty of campaigning efforts, such as chanting slogans for the candidate they support or sporting badges in favor of the candidate they choose.
The partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government, the first in 17 years, had its impact felt at the parade.
The West Point marching band, for one, which was originally included as a part of the U.S. Military Academy Band and would be leading the parade, has been barred from marching because of the ongoing partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government. Leading the parade in its place Monday was Ohio Northern University Marching Band, also known as the Star of Northwest Ohio.
This year Columbus Day parade, which started at 11:30 a.m. EDT, also wowed spectators with a display of high-end sports cars and good performances of the well-organized marching bands.
Monday's paraded, which last for more than three hours, was expected to attract about one million spectators, said the organizers.
Columbus Day was calculated to celebrate Christopher Columbus' first voyage to the Americas in 1492. It later became a federal holiday in the United States in the early years of last century and is now observed in the United States on the second Monday of October each year.