Sinatra imitator gets a Columbus Day gig

City selects comic mulling a run for governor in N.J. as parade grand marshal

September 30, 2004|By Laura Vozzella | Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF

A stand-up comic and Frank Sinatra impersonator who is mulling a run for New Jersey governor is booked for another gig next week: grand marshal of Baltimore's Columbus Day parade. Joe Piscopo will take part in the Oct. 10 parade from Mount Vernon to Little Italy and perform his big-band Sinatra tribute that night under a tent at Baltimore International College.

Details of the Columbus Day events were outlined yesterday at a City Hall news conference with Mayor Martin O'Malley and former Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro III.

Begun in 1890, the parade is the longest-running Columbus Day celebration in the nation - and an important tie to a time when Baltimore was a city of immigrants, D'Alesandro said.

"These are the few little links we have in the city to our past," D'Alesandro said.

The festivities begin at 8:30 a.m. with a Mass at St. Leo's Roman Catholic Church in Little Italy.

The parade will begin at 1 p.m. at Mount Vernon Place and Charles Street and end about two hours later at the Columbus monument at President Street and Eastern Avenue. Along with the usual high school bands, antique cars and clowns, the parade will feature something new this year: a mobile bocce game, to be played on a flatbed truck.

Throughout the day, there will be a festival along President Street and Eastern Avenue, with a bocce tournament, grape stomping, cooking contests and a wine and beer garden.

Parade organizers were upbeat about the participation of Piscopo, a former Saturday Night Live star who announced last month he would consider running for governor of New Jersey, after Gov. James E. McGreevey said he was resigning in the midst of a sex scandal.

Piscopo will perform his comedy and Sinatra routine at 7 p.m. at the college, at Pratt Street and Central Avenue. Tickets - $50, or $100 with a pre-concert dinner and VIP seating - are available via Ticketmaster and at www.columbuscelebrations.com.

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