Italian Heritage Parade

October 10, 2008 8:45:46 PM PDT
Take a trip to Italy without leaving the Bay Area.

Italian Heritage Parade
The Italian Heritage Parade in San Francisco on Sunday, October 12th at 12:30 pm will mark its 140th year. It is the City's oldest civic event and the nation's oldest Italian-American Parade. Beginning at the foot of Jefferson and Stockton Streets at Fisherman's Wharf, the parade winds through North Beach along Columbus Avenue, ending at the reviewing stand in front of Sts. Peter and Paul Italian Church at Washington Square.

Floats, marching bands from around the state and other colorful entertainers delight viewers along the parade route. We are thrilled to announce that this year's Grand Marshall will be baseball great and Italian-American, Tommy Lasorda. The highlight of the parade is the arrival of Christopher Columbus on his ship and the float that carries Queen Isabella and her Court comprised of young women ages 15-25 of Italian decent chosen by a committee prior to the event. (The 2007 Queen Isabella, Sarah Toschi Leight, will crown the new 2008 Queen, Jessica Soracco, at the Grand Ball at the Fairmont Hotel Saturday night before the Parade.) The festive atmosphere is enhanced by al fresco dining at various Italian restaurants on Columbus Avenue and along the parade route where you can spot local celebs and savor the flavors of Italy. San Franciscans as well as tourists flock to this favorite event each year numbering near 400,000. An added feature of the day is the Ferrari Sports Car display in Washington Square Park. The parade coincides with Fleet Week and the finale to the parade is usually the arrival of the Blue Angels soaring above the crowd.

Parade/History/Queen's Court

  • 140th annual Italian Heritage Parade, San Francisco's oldest civic event, nation's oldest Italian American celebration

  • Queen Isabella and her Court- comprised of young ladies of Italian decent from 15-25 years of age.

  • Crowing of the Queen takes place at the Grand Ball at the Fairmont Hotel on Saturday evening the night before the parade. Tickets available on our website: http://sfcolumbusday.org

  • Period costumes handmade by two sisters (one is acting President of the Parade/organization and the other is the Queen Mother). Dresses are modeled after actual historic designs from that period in Italian history.

  • The Grand Marshall of this year's parade is Tommy Lasorda (baseball legend, winemaker, Italian American)

    Events

  • Parade (which is the finale to Fleet Week in San Francisco) takes place Sunday, October 12th at 12:30 pm. Starts at Beach and Powell Street, in front of Caesar's Restaurant and continues through Fisherman's Wharf, up Columbus Avenue through North Beach ending at the reviewing stand in front of Sts. Peter and Paul Church at Washington Square.

  • Many of the restaurants along the parade route offer alfresco dining.

  • Ferrari Sports Car Show in Washington Square Park all day.

  • Festival for children at Sts. Peter and Paul Church school yard

  • Parade culminates with Blue Angels flying overhead

  • All events are FREE and family friendly

    QUEEN BIOS

    Jessica Soracco
    My name is Jessica Soracco, I am 19 years old and I am currently a student Sonoma state university. I have two younger siblings; my brother Kevin is 15 and my little sister Mia is 5. I was born and raised in California. I attended Sts. Peter and Paul school for grades K-8 and I attended Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep for high school. Although I attended school in San Francisco I live in a small town called Belmont. I like to think of myself as an interesting person, I have many hobbies and interests. I enjoy swimming, reading, baking, watching movies, and hanging out with my friends, shopping and so on.

    I enjoy working with kids and I hope to one day become an elementary teacher. This is my 4th year being in the court and I am so excited to be this year's 2008 Queen Isabella. Family is extremely important to me. I love my family so much and I am always spending time with them. My grandparents are like my best friends I miss them so much when I am here at school because I am so used to seeing them almost every day. I also love to travel. One of my goals is to go to all 50 states in my lifetime, so far I have been to 13. I recently went to Europe on one of my family vacations. I thought it was amazing; there is so much history and background in everything down to the cobblestone on the floor. Europe is definitely a place I hope to revisit in my life.

    I enjoy baking and watching the Food Network. For me baking is a big stress relief, it is just so relaxing mixing everything together. I especially love how the kitchen smells I could spend hours looking online for new recipes to try out. I especially love the holidays because it's an excuse to bake five different things and show off to everyone what I can make.

    All in all I would say I am a fairly simple person, who is just enjoying life as it comes.

    Sarah Toschi Leight
    Sarah Toschi Leight was born on March 31st, 1987, in San Francisco. She is the first of two daughters of Karen (nee Toschi) and Larry Leight. Sarah is a fifth generation native San Francisco Italian, and proud of it.

    She attended St. Cecilia School from 1992 to 2001; during her time there, she played on various sports teams and was a student alter server. Upon graduating in 2001, Sarah went on to Mercy High School San Francisco, where she, bitten by the acting bug, immersed herself in the drama department, and the school's annual theatrical productions. However, Mercy was not the right place for Sarah; she left school in the winter of 2004 to pursue her theater studies, get a job, and receive her GED. She graduated a few months ahead of schedule in 2005, from CCSF. Sarah's theatrical education includes two years in A.C.T's Young Conservatory, and two years with The San Francisco School of Digital Film Making.

    In 2004, Sarah began her involvement with the Italian Heritage Parade and Queen's Court. She started her first year in the Court as a "Lady in Waiting" through a last minute referral from her best friend, Cendahl Cornelio-Alter. There were some open spots in the court that year, and Cendahl, already chosen to participate, thought Sarah would be a good addition. Sarah fell in love with the festivities and came back to participate in the 2005 and 2006 Courts, moving up the ranks each year. The following year, much to her surprise and elation, she was named Queen Isabella 2007. Sarah reflects, "To be Queen has been the thrill of a lifetime. I'm very grateful to have been given honor of representing San Francisco's Italian community."

    Sarah currently lives in San Francisco's Sunset District, with her family. She enjoys writing, classic comedy (The Three Stooges, in particular), music, the beach, and spending time with her boyfriend, Daniel. She is currently pursuing a career in film.


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