Discover what's happening during the 2020 Columbus Day weekend with celebrations of parades, events and festivals in New Jersey.
Columbus Day celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas, on October 12, 1492, or as some historians claim, that event set in motion the chain of events that led to the discovery of the United States as we know it today.
With a large immigration of Catholics during the mid-19th century and in response to discrimination from anti-immigrant activists, most notably the Ku Klux Klan, Catholics created organizations to combat discrimination and provide a means of survival for struggling immigrants.
The Knights of Columbus who chose that name in part because they viewed Christopher Columbus, a Catholic as the icon of the struggle of Catholic immigrants and their pursuit of citizenship.
Today many Italian-Americans and Italian-American organizations such as the Sons of Italy and the Italian-American Association observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage.
The first known celebration of Columbus Day began in New York City, a city with a large Catholic population, occurred on October 12, 1866.
Columbus Day was first celebrated as a holiday in the United States as a result of the efforts of Angelo Noce, a first generation Italian, in Denver. In April 1934, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, Congress and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt set aside October 12 as Columbus Day and a Federal holiday.
NJ COVID 19 Update:
At this this time, New Jersey has lifted all COVID-19 Restrictions.
We continue to recommend viewers contact the event sponsors before heading out to a listed event to confirm their status.
Stay tuned --- we will be updating this list as our sponsors confirm this year's events
280 Grove St
For 2020, sue to Covid-19 social distancing, all attendees will be in front of City Hall Plaza for group pictures. The U.S. National Anthem will be played followed by Italy's National Anthem. Italian Flag raising from City Hall balcony can be viewed in front of City Hall Plaza.
West Milford Autumn Lights Festival
Saturday, October 10, 2020; All day
Union Valley Rd
West Milford, NJ
The Autumn Lights Festival first started 20 years ago as a celebration to West Milford for getting its first traffic light! In the beginning it was just the town gathering on the lawn of Town Hall.
Today it has grown to a street fair that has over 300 vendors, live music, child activities, games and rides. With about 20,000 'ALFers' that visit throughout the day.
Nutley-Belleville Columbus Day Parade
Sunday, October 11, 2020; 10:30am
Belleville Township Hall
152 Washington Avenue
Belleville, NJ, 07109
Contact: Pasquale Meola at 973- 489-7002 or email at email@example.com.
For 2020, the parade, that usually starts in Belleville and concludes in Nutley, will be replaced by a caravan of cars decorated to celebrate Italian Heritage.
The events of the day will begin at Belleville Township Hall at 10:30 a.m. with the raising of the Italian flag. At noon, a ceremony will take place at the Columbus monument on the lawn of Nutley Township Hall. Then, at 1:30 p.m., the caravan of cars will begin at Belleville High School before making its way to Franklin Ave in Nutley.