Columbus Day Parade in Little Italy

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Yet another Columbus Day was met with controversy across the country as some continue to argue the holiday should be replaced, renamed after the people who were already living in America after it was "discovered."

However, the calls for change were nowhere in sight in Little Italy Monday afternoon as an estimated 25,000 people, by organizers' count, gathered to celebrate the 66th Columbus Day Parade.

The tradition held for its 16th consecutive year in the Cleveland Italian neighborhood, where the celebration has grown into a point of great pride.

"It's become synonymous with Italian American Heritage day," explained Basil Russo, the parade chairman and National President of the Order Italian Sons and Daughters of America.

He continued, "Columbus Day began the immigration to this country, began 500 years of immigration to this country of oppressed people from around the world who came to seek a better life for their families."

Many at the parade made a point to say the accomplishments of Columbus should be celebrated not erased, while others said they just wanted to have a good time with family and friends.

"To celebrate my heritage, my Italian heritage; my parents were both Italian," said Angela Linek. "I'm very strongly devoted to being an Italian and it's just a fun day."

However, several cities including Cincinnati and San Francisco have switched to observing Indigenous Peoples Day instead. Even its namesake Columbus, Ohio did not acknowledge the holiday this year due to cost-saving goals.

"I like being in a city that respects the Italian culture, what they're doing in Columbus, Ohio is crazy," said John DiPietro.

At least one woman said she did not have a problem with celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day but added the accomplishments of Columbus should be equally respected.

"I think it's okay to have both days on the same day but we don't need to exclude anybody," mentioned Marilyn Crisafi. "I just feel like having Indigenous Peoples Day without recognizing Columbus Day is exclusionary, not being inclusive."

This year's parade featured 10 high school marching bands and 100 floats and other units. While the future of the holiday may continue to change nationwide, the festivities in Little Italy will likely live on for years to come.

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