Shelton Day’s vendors and live entertainment will set up shop in Riverwalk-Veterans Park on Sunday, Oct. 7 —  making way for the state’s oldest Columbus Day Parade.

For the first time,the Council of Italian-American Societies of Greater Bridgeport’s Columbus Day Parade will step off in Shelton, rather than Bridgeport. The parade starts at noon at Howe Avenue and Brook Street, proceeding through Shelton’s center business district, eventually ending at the new location of Shelton Day festivities.

Roughly 100 Shelton Day vendors, including food trucks and live entertainment will be set up from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in and around the pavilion area at Riverwalk Park.

The noon parade is an exciting addition to the day, according to Drew Scott, the chairman of the Derby Shelton Rotary Club’s Shelton Day Committee. The club organizes Shelton Day, in partnership with the City.

“The parade is going to take a left on Cornell and end on Canal Street,” said Scott. “Basically, when the parade ends, Shelton Day begins.

“We have over 100 booths this year,” Scott said. “We’ll have food vendors, arts and crafts items, fun things to purchase for the parade. And, many of our vendors are local businesses that want to get their name out there.”

It’s is a good idea to arrive 45 minutes before the parade starts at noon to avoid road closures, according to a release from the City of Shelton.

“Parking lots available in the downtown area are the municipal parking lot at Howe Avenue and Cornell Street, White Street (behind the Echo Hose Fire Department), Bridge Street at Coram, and City Hall parking lot off Coram Avenue,” according to the release. Canal Street will remain closed to traffic until 6 p.m. Wharf Street will remain open all day.

The noon parade will feature the Quantico Marine Corps Band, the Uptown String Band (also known as the Mummers), the Shriners, an Italian marching band from New York City, an Italian dance troupe, the 2nd Company Governor’s Horse Guard, Port 5 Naval Veterans Color Guard, the Marine Corps Leagues, bagpipe and fife and drum units, local school and scout groups, police and fire units and much more, according to a release from Mayor Mark Lauretti’s office.  Leading the parade will be 2018 Grand Marshal Richard Iannucci, Commander of Port 5 Naval Veterans in Bridgeport and a retired U.S. Navy Master Chief. After the parade, the Quantico Marine Corps Band, The Shriners and the Shelton High School Marching Band  will be performing at the Riverwalk.

Last month, the Council of Italian-American Societies of Greater Bridgeport’s Treasurer Chris Caruso said the parade would be moving to Shelton due to financial considerations. Organizers of the 110th annual parade cited higher than expected police overtime fees from the City of Bridgeport, and thanked Mayor Mark Lauretti for providing the new location.

“We are honored that Shelton is hosting the 110th  Columbus Day Parade,” Lauretti said in a release last week, “and we invite the Valley area towns to join us on Sunday, October 7th, watching an energetic parade and enjoying all the food and entertainment that Shelton Day has to offer.”

Scott agrees the parade could bring a new crowd to the annual city event.

“We’re looking forward to having this new element added to our Shelton Day festivities,” Scott said.

The event is rain or shine. Proceeds from Shelton Day are put back into the community, in the way of scholarships for high school students in Derby and Shelton and through other community projects by The Rotary Club.

For more on Shelton Day, including an map of the new booth layout, visit derby-sheltonrotary.org/sheltonday.