The Long Branch Columbus Day Parade and Harvest Festival will be bigger and feature a new grand marshal this October.
The parade is scheduled for Sunday, October 7, at 1 p.m. and the Harvest Festival will be held from 12 – 7 p.m. on the corner of Morris Avenue and Westwood Avenue. This is a change from previous years when the festival was held at the Long Branch High School football field.
The festival will include a performance by The Nerds, rides, food vendors, a petting zoo, hayrides and children's activities.
"The Columbus Day Parade has a long history in the City of Long Branch dating back to 1946, and therefore is the perfect setting for the parade because of the diverse nationalities that reside in this city," according to a release from the Long Branch Chamber of Commerce.
For the past eight years, Joseph Mercadante has been the parade’s chairman and for the last five years he has sponsored the parade with the help of the city.
Each year, the parade has a different grand marshal, and this fall, Monmouth University President Paul Gaffney will have the honor. Gaffney announced that he will be retiring at the end of the 2012-13 school year at Monmouth University.
President Gaffney is also a retired Navy Vice Admiral and was president of the National Defense University from 2000-2003.
Long Branch School District Superintendent Michael Salvatore served as the parade's grand marshal in 2011.
The parade will consist of Monmouth University’s Pep Band along with several local high school bands from Long Branch, Shore Regional, Monmouth Regional, as well as other schools.
There will also be motorcycles, antique cars, floats from area businesses, local boy and girl scout troops, and state and county officials.