PROUD PARADERS 2000
Photos by MICHAEL SYPNIEWSKI / Staff Photographer
Members of Toms River High School South's marching band perform in Seaside Heights
during a Columbus Day Parade. Amanda Rose (right), 8, Browns Mills, waves the Italian flag.
Borough holds Columbus Day Parade
By COLLLEEN PLATT
Three-year-old Robert Stewart smiled and
pointed in the direction of the oncoming
"There," he said, motioning to his mother,
Angel, to watch the band.
"The drums are his favorite," Mrs. Stewart,
Toms River, said, as she followed her aspiring
drummer's gaze in the direction of the Toms
River High School South marching band, which
was marching proudly to the drum sections' cadence.
Toms River South's band was one of dozens
that participated in the 9th annual Columbus
Day Parade in Seaside Heights yesterday. The
parade was the culmination of a weekend of festivities
commemorating Italian heritage at the shore.
Michael Blandina, the parade and festival
chairman, estimated the crowds reached about
50,000 people yesterday.
Blandina said months of planning go into the
annual weekend, and each year the event grows
a little more. This year's event featured 19
bands from throughout the state, and six floats
representing area business and clubs.
A dance and performance troupe from Italy,
"Gruppo Polifonico Del Balzo," made a guest appearance
at the parade. Blandina said he and
other parade committee members enjoy bringing
the different groups from Italy to the event
every year, because it adds an extra dimension
to the festivities.
Members of the Italian American Club in
Ocean County marched along the parade route,
but they weren't the only ones who wore the
traditional colors of Italy.
Several of the parade participants donned the
traditional green, white and red colors affiliated
with the Repubblica Italiana, including Louisa
Kostika, treasurer of the Ocean County Columbus
Day Parade committee, who wore a traditional
red skirt and white patterned shirt to celebrate the day.
The festival featured food, vendors, crafters,
an antique car show and other events throughout the weekend.