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« Brain food from the heartland

Pete's Parade

By Louie b. Free (Contact)


Published March 12, 2017

Last week, legendary area broadcaster, Pete Gabriel was in studio with his lovely wife,Sandy! I had the best time with them both....and,of course, learned a lot. We talked about Pete's journey to Youngstown, and to WKBN radio Sandy(after some initial reluctance to chat) really opened up about what it was like moving with little ones in tow..and making the Mahoning valley HOME. The Gabriels said, numerous times, that coming here was the best decision they made(well, second to deciding to be together for...well, forever!).

After learning that Pete (yes, he insisted that I call him "Pete", and stop calling him "Mr.Gabriel") actually founded the area's St.Patrick's Day Parade...yeah, 'the Greek guy who founded the area's St.Patrick's Day Parade', I was eager to learn the story. Pete came in with a cornucopia of memorabilia. Pete had original schedules, line-ups, and, even hand drawn maps of downtown Youngstown where the parade was originally held. He brought photo albums, but, best of all, stories told with the energy,enthusiasm and accuracy that only Pete and Sandy could share. Over the past years, I've been honoured to have The Vindicator's Dolly Milick, Joyce 'Kale-Pesto' Kale-Pesta , Casey Malone Sharon Sabatka, and others, talking about the wonderful Mahoning Valley St.Patrick's Parade. These folks and SO MANY others, work tirelessly for months and months to produce a wondrous parade every year for all of us. (The parade that many of y'all attended earlier today was the valley's 39th) Again, I was truly honoured learning the history of the parade that draws so very many from near and far, every year for the past 39, from THE MAN, Pete Gabriel, who started it all....sadly, there's no mention of Pete at the websites. I've said this many times before on my show, I get so frustrated with posthumous praise and posthumous praisers .someone passes and everyone comes out to 'thank and praise them' . Not only should Pete Gabriel be included on the websites...next year is the 40th! If there's to be a Grand, GREAT MARSHALL, shouldn't it be Pete??? 39 years after Pete Gabriel said on his very popular radio show "Let's have a Saint Patrick's Day Parade...anyone interested in marching with me, give me a call...I promise you a parade even if I'm the only one marching down the street...!"***


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