PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The annual Columbus Day Parade on Federal Hill in Providence kicked off on Sunday.

Eyewitness News is a proud sponsor of the event and many members of our team took part in the celebration.

Atwells Avenue isn’t just any old parade route. All of the usual suspects were part of this year’s celebration – from politicians to marching bands – but for some, this parade represents a special bond between friends and family.

Silvia DelSignore said she moved to Federal Hill from Italy when she was 3 years old.

“This is my spot, it’s sentimental to me and I’ll be here until the day I die,” she said.

The politicians change and so do the faces that make up the marching bands – but this weekend is a homecoming for many people in the area.

“My mom would have a big dinner, so I couldn’t buy from the Venda’s I had to go to my mom’s and she would invite me and whoever was with me to come back to the house and we would just have a beautiful Italian dinner,” DeSignore said.

“We can’t leave here. We were born and raised here, and we just have to always come back,” added Eldamaria Damiani.

Don and Rosemary Guarino say they’ve been watching the parade for about 15 years. They say there is something about the energy they just can’t resist.

“Even when we travel we try to find a parade. I just love the fact that people are out, especially young children and how excited they get looking at the parade,” Rosemary said.

“The food is great, the people are great and I’m proud to be Italian,” added Don.

Atwells Avenue from Dean to Sutton Streets will stay closed for the festival – which wraps up at 8 p.m. on Monday.