They gathered on West Wilson Street in front of the Italian Fraternal Home Wednesday morning, like they had for so many years past.
About 30 to 40 people filed in behind members of the St. Margaret’s Blue Coat Band, which would lead them up Wilson, across State Street and down to St. Rose Church. There, they would listen to the band play a few numbers, then go inside for Mass.
It was the last day of the Girard Mount Carmel Society Festival, which began Friday and was going out Wednesday night with the usual bang — renowned Zambelli fireworks that were expected to draw about 10,000 people to downtown.
But Wednesday morning was a quiet time — for reflecting on their heritage, and for honoring their ancestors. After Mass, members of the IFH and the band were to go to three cemeteries to honor beloved dead there.
At the back of the parade, three generations were waving the Italian colors as it started up Wilson. Tony DeGaten, who has been an IFH member for 60 years, was accompanied by his 28-year-old son, Ryan, and Ryan’s son, Geoffrey, 7.
“I haven’t missed one year,” said Tony, about marching in the parade to honor his Italian heritage. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Read more about the fest in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.