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Columbus Day 2011 Celebrations: What to Do?

Monday Oct. 10 is Columbus Day and many people have made plans to celebrate the anniversary of Colmbus’ arrival to the Americas.

Celebrated since the late 18th century, Columbus Day is observed the second Monday of October every year in the U.S. to commemorate the voyager’s feat in 1492.

The Columbus Day Parade will begin at 11:30 a.m. EST in New York City on Fifth Avenue and 44th Street. The parade will last until around 3 p.m. and continue up Fifth Avenue to 79th Street.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue and 50th Street will hold a Columbus Day Mass at 9:30 a.m. on Monday.

Stores such as Gap, Forever 21, and Dress Barn, among many others, are offering discounts and sales in an attempt to boost weekend shopping.

Many public buildings and banks will be closed Monday in lieu of the holiday, including the U.S. Post Office.

The first Columbus Day event was celebrated in the U.S. was in 1972, but the holiday was officiated earlier in Colorado 31 years earlier.

Hosted by the Columbus Citizens Foundation, the parade is one of the biggest celebrations in New York each year, and will gather more than 500,000 people watching from the street. Some 1 million people will tune in to the broadcast of more than 35,000 parade participators and over 100 groups sporting floats, bands, dancers, and other entries.

“On October 10, 2011, Fifth Avenue will be transformed during the Columbus Day Parade, the world’s largest celebration of the Italian-American culture,” said a press release from the Columbus Citizens Foundation.

“This is already a special year for us, as we have invited and received confirmation from some of the most talented performers Pia Toscano (“American Idol” Favorite) as well as the Italian Musical, “The Italian Fairy” are just some of the notable performers,” continued the statement.

Performing in the parade will be The Sacred Heart University Marching Band and the Stony Brook University Marching Band, among many others.

The grandstands will be located on Fifth Avenue between 67th and 69 Streets.

“The parade celebrates the spirit of the exploration and courage that inspired Christopher Columbus’s 1492 expedition and the important contributions Italian-Americans have made to the U.S,” said the Columbus Citizens Foundation.

The 67th Columbus Day Parade will be covered by major cable networks where coverage will start Monday at 11 a.m. EST.

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