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Pittsburgh Columbus Day Parade Canceled After Longtime Organizer Dies

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Columbus Day parade in Pittsburgh's Little Italy has been a tradition for more than 30 years. However, there will be no parade this year.

This year's parade was supposed to take place this weekend, but it was canceled after its longtime organizer, Hank Blum, died.

"He was the one who worked very hard putting this parade together," says Parade Board Chairman Guy Costa. "He spent a lot of time and effort to put on a successful parade."

The parade featured local marching bands and Italian groups.

"It's very shocking to hear there's no Columbus Day parade," says Gary White at Sugar & Smoke Southern Kitchen. "I know what it means to the community."

Bloomfield Little Italy Columbus Day Parade
(Photo Credit: Bryan Orr/KDKA)

Guy Costa, Pittsburgh's chief operations officer, says he hopes the parade will return in some form next year.

He says talks for next year's parade are already taking place.

"We're already in discussions on Columbus Day weekend," Costa said.

Costa said it takes a lot of time and money to organize a parade so he's also considering having the Columbus Day Parade every other year instead.

He says less and less people have been coming to the parade, too.

The Columbus Day Parade has been in Bloomfield over the years. However, Costa said there's also talk it could move Downtown.

As for continuing to name the parade after the Italian explorer Costa says, "We stand behind the Christopher Columbus name and will continue to do so here in Pittsburgh."

Mayor Peduto looks at it this way, "I think it should be celebrated around Columbus Day in October but as for the name I don't really consider that the most important part of it."

So there are issues to be resolved but everyone involved seems resolute on making sure there is a parade next year.

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