Celebrate San Francisco History and Diversity at the Italian Heritage Parade
The annual San Francisco Italian Heritage Parade celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2018 on October 7th. Often recognized as the City's oldest civic event and the oldest continuing Italian-American parade and community organization in the United States, the celebration continues to be an icon on the San Francisco annual festival calendar.
La Societa Italiana Mutua Beneficenza was founded by Nicola Larco in 1858 to help support the growing community of Italian immigrants in the North Beach neighborhood who arrived in the gold rush fever over the previous decade. Larco then founded the City's first Columbus Day celebration, with four floats honoring the European discoverer and Italian-American contributions.
In the ensuing years, the festivities grew to include a formal Grand Ball, a representation of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (and, later, just the Queen), and a city-wide celebration of heritage and culture. Renamed the Italian Heritage Parade in 1994, the event honors the culture and achievements of all Italians and Italian-Americans.
General Parade Information
The Italian Heritage Parade begins at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 7th at Jefferson and Powell Streets in Fisherman's Wharf. From there, the route proceeds south through the North Beach neighborhood on Columbus Avenue, ending approximately at 3 p.m. at Washington Square in front of Saints Peter and Paul Church.
You can expect to see handcrafted floats celebrating San Francisco Bay Area business, community groups and Italian organizations, and noted area Italian-Americans, with local high school Italian clubs and marching bands. The parade's focal point is Queen Isabella and her Court, representing the local community and the parade's Board of Directors.
Admission to all parade activities is free. This includes the Ferrari sports car display in Washington Square Park, and the variety of hands-on programs and fun for children and families. Along the route, you'll find traditional Italian musicians and performance artists.
For more parade information, including viewing guidelines, click here. If you are planning on using public transportation to the area, please be aware of impacted service by SFMTA due to the anticipated crowds and street closures.
The San Francisco Italian Athletic Club hosts a post-parade dinner at 6 p.m on Sunday the 7th. Get more information and purchase tickets here.
You can also find many dining options throughout the North Beach neighborhood here.
For complete information on the Italian Heritage parade and celebration, visit www.sfitalianheritage.org.