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Columbus Day comes early to the Bronx with Morris Park parade

The borough's multitude of ethnic groups usually reserve the Grand Concourse to parade their pride. But pride central for Italian-Americans celebrating Columbus Day is Morris Park.

And the borough's large Italian-American population even got the jump a day ahead of the bigger Manhattan celebration on Chris' holiday.

Under warm and sunny skies on Sunday, it was time for elected officials (VOTE FOR ME!) and marching Catholic school cheerleaders to draw equal applause at the 32nd annual Bronx County Columbus Day Parade along Morris Park Ave. and up Williamsbridge Road past the reviewing stand.

Hundreds of paradegoers, not a few sporting the colors of the Italian flag - green (for hope), white (faith), and red (charity) - cheered dozens of bands, beauty queens, and local school, civic and merchants' groups marching behind their banners.

Parade watchers who got hungry had plenty of opportunity to "grab a slice" along Morris Park Ave., so packed with popular pizza shops it could well be called the Pizza Parkway.

"What began as neighborhood event over 30 years ago has steadily grown to become a world-class parade," Al D'Angelo, president of the Morris Park Community Association, puffed ever so modestly.