They marched swiftly as if they were members of a military unit.
They marched carrying special banners and signs.
They marched playing musical instruments that sent music echoing into the humid air.
They even rode in classic cars, waving to spectators and tossing a variety of candy to young and old alike.
They were many, many Johnstonians who had a pronounced presence in Sunday’s Columbus Day Parade on Providence’s Federal Hill.
“Hey, maybe this parade should have been held in Johnston,” a life-long resident of the town who doubles as a member of the Rhode Island Italian American Club, offered. “There are lots and lots of our residents in this parade and along the route, too.”
Perhaps it was fitting that Johnston High School’s national award-winning Marching Panther Band led all musical groups in Monday’s parade, simply because people along the parade route were impressed with the Ron Lamoureux-directed unit’s uniforms and music.
Even a half dozen college students who watched the parade while sitting on the sidewalk outside Pane E Vino Italian Restaurant, that’s owned and operated by Joe and Esther DeQuattro also of Johnston, applauded the JHS band and saying “I remember our (high) schools days playing in the band.”
Anthony “Nappy” Napolitano, the Italo-American Club’s president, walked with Gov. Gina Raimondo and her son Tommy in front of the non-profit’s banner which was carried by Johnstonians Carmine DeRobbio and Linda Folcarelli and joined by WPRI-TV personalities Tony Petrarca and Mike Montecalvo.
Even club secretary Donna Folcarelli rode in a convertible while Pannese Society President Joseph Spremulli also enjoyed a ride in a vintage Cadillac and Joe Pingitore, a life-long Johnstonian who’ll be putting a float in the upcoming JHS Homecoming drove his unique chair-powered truck along the parade route.