This year's annual Long Branch Columbus Day Parade will feature some changes when it kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.
The most notable change is the parade's route, which will now begin at the Long Branch Middle School on Bath Avenue. In the past, the parade began in West Long Branch, but it will now be a Long Branch-only parade according to sponsor and organizer Joe Mercadante.
The parade will leave the school and head up Bath Avenue and will make a right onto Broadway. It will then travel east on Broadway before making a right onto Morris Avenue.
The parade will end at the Morris Avenue School, where several food vendors, including Tuzzio's, will be on hand.
The parade will feature bands from Long Branch High School, Shore Regional High School and Monmouth Regional High School. Local boy and girl scout troops, the Long Branch Elks, the Amerigo Vespucci Society, the Long Branch Police and Fire Department and other musical bands.
Long Branch Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Stanley Dziuba will be the parade's grand marshal this year. Mercadante said the Dziuba's work to help the city during Hurricane Sandy made him a perfect candidate.
"I think it was appropriate to make him grand marshal after all he did," Mercadante said.
The parade used to end at Long Branch High School where the district sponsored a Harvest Festival, but that will not be held this year.
Mercadante said he hopes to have an Italian festival similar to the one held in Belmar following next year's parade.