The Friends of Christopher Columbus Park organized a terrific day of kid-oriented events at the park attended by over 500 neighbors from the North End and Waterfront area. The celebration was held on Monday, October 11, 2010. Click to see dozens of pictures from the celebration in the photo gallery.
The day started with a short parade around the park, led by dignitaries including Mayor Tom Menino, Italian Acting Consul General Luigi Munno, State Senator Anthony Petruccelli, State Representative Aaron Michlewitz and City Councilors Sal LaMattina and Felix Arroyo. Also marching were the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park, the Eliot School’s Traci Griffith and dozens of neighborhood families with a 3-piece band keeping everyone on pace.
Joanne Hayes-Rines, President of the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park, welcomed all the attendees gathered around the statue of Christopher Columbus. Mayor Tom Menino and Italian Acting Consul Luigi Munno spoke to the crowd, marking the holiday and kicking off the celebration.
A highlight during the ceremony was the performance by the Eliot School children who sang several songs in Italian, learned through a program partially paid by the Italian Consulate. The kids ended with an Italian poem in honor of Christopher Columbus. The ceremony was capped off by NEMPAC’s Chris Schroder singing God Bless America and a wreath laying by the Mayor and Italian Consul General at the statue of Christopher Columbus.
Events continued throughout the day with an interactive play by the City Stage Company, a mesmerizing performance by Peter Schaefer of Tanglewood Marionettes, delightful singing by Mariana Iranzi and a stunning performance with Magician Peter O’Malley. The day concluded with a rocking performance by NoEnd, the NEMPAC house band.
In addition to the events on stage, there was face painting and a musical “petting zoo” complements of the North End Music and Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC). NEMPAC instructors Jeremy and Sarah worked with the kids during the afternoon. Park rangers were also on hand, courtesy of the National Park Service and Boston Police’s K-9 unit held a canine police dog demonstration.
The West Lawn of the park, by the Rose Garden, was also filled with activities, including an activity cart courtesy of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. Suzanne Brownell taught “Yoga for Kids” followed by fun activities and races organized by the FOCCP volunteers. Joe Bono, FOCCP Board member, contributed free hot dogs and beverages as prizes.
FOCCP is a privately-funded, non-profit group that spent about $2,900 to fund the day’s activities, an amazing achievement for such an ambitious program. Hundreds of donated hours were put in by its volunteers in organizing the event, led by FOCCP President Joanne Hayes-Rines.
FOCCP thanks its neighboring residents and businesses that donate to fund these types of events, light the trellis and keep the park clean and well-maintained. More on FOCCP can be found at www.FOCCP.org including information on the upcoming fundraising gala on November 19, 2010.