If there was one thing that was evident within the huge crowds lining the Columbus Day Parade route on Broadway Monday afternoon, it was that they had missed the parade in its five year absence.
As Batman strode by and tanks rumbled past, spectators unanimously agreed that they were happy Mayor Dan Rizzo and the Revere Chamber of Commerce had united to get the parade back on Broadway.
“I am glad they brought it back,” said Judy Migliozzi, who came to the parade with her husband, Nick, and her grandson, Noah Cooksey. “I’ve only lived in Revere for about 12 years, but I’m glad to see this return. It’s wonderful they brought it back. I have to say I am surprised they got so many things. We liked Batman the best. My grandson is a big Batman fan.”
Longtime Revere resident John Gioioso said he had been to just about every Columbus Day Parade in Revere, and was glad to be able to come back out for another.
“I think it’s about time,” he said. “I know the ex-mayor tried, but couldn’t get the funding and support to keep it going. I think Mayor Rizzo is doing a good job with the City and this was a good idea. I believe I saw 40 years of parades. I probably saw every one of them. I definitely missed it and I’m glad it’s come back. It makes me proud to be a resident of the City.”
Others had never been to the parade before, but said they were all for keeping it going.
“We just live up the street and this is our first time coming,” said Jeff McMillan of Central Avenue. “We moved here after they stopped it. I think it’s a hit. It’s a great community event.”
Sheri DeSimone said she had come to the parade in 2007, and was scared off by police activity that occurred as a result of the Officer Dan Talbot murder investigation. That incident had tarnished the parade for her, and almost made her not want to come this time.
“I almost didn’t come to the parade because of what happened the last time I came,” she said. “It wasn’t a good atmosphere, but I’m glad I came because this is a very positive event. It’s been wonderful for my kids and myself. Now that my kids are in school, they like to come and see their friends marching. We had a great time.”
If there were any detractors in the five-deep crowd along the route – which stretched from lower Broadway to St. Anthony’s Church on Revere Street – they weren’t standing up to be counted.
The two-hour parade with four divisions started off with the Police and Fire Department contingents.
Mayor Rizzo, Speaker of the House Bob DeLeo and several other elected officials from the City Council, School Committee and state delegation also marched up front.
Two 2014 gubernatorial candidates also made a showing, with Republican Charlie Baker running through the crowd and Democratic candidate (and current Attorney General) Martha Coakley shaking hands with those in the crowd.
There were several local bands, including high school bands from Lowell, Dartmouth and even one from Vermont.
There was a large military presence at the parade this time as well, with many military groups bringing equipment such as tanks and vehicles. Likewise, cadets from Revere High Schools JROTC contingent marched proudly carrying a gigantic American flag down the street.
Perhaps the highlight of the day for the young folks was the East Boston Savings Bank entry that included the original Batmobile. Strolling behind it was Batman and Robin – lighting up the eyes of just about everyone under 12 (and even a few adults as well).
The full contingent of Shriners took up a huge swath of the parade and local organizations like Revere Karate, Point of Pines Yacht Club, Revere Pop Warner, Suffolk Downs and East Boston Neighborhood Health Center made a strong showing.
Veronica Robles was a clear highlight in the final division of the parade, bringing her full mariachi band and dancers along the route.
Finally, Santa Claus rounded out the festivities, making an early appearance to get the latest update on who has been naughty and who has been nice.
The parade will return to Revere in 2015, only coming to Broadway on years when East Boston doesn’t host its Columbus Day Parade (that community and the North End alternate parade years).
The Columbus Day Breakfast, however, will go off next year on Columbus Day morning.