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5 Industries Banking on Your Columbus Day Weekend

City tourism

In certain corners of the country, that Columbus part of Columbus Day is still a huge deal.

In New York City, for example, 35,000 people still march in the city's Columbus Day Parade each year. Visitors still flood the city's Italian-American communities, where Columbus' Italian heritage is celebrated as (and debated, if you believe The Sopranos) as an extension of their own. Just about any parade in the city means huge business for surrounding street vendors, restaurants, shops, bars and other attractions, though.

The same holds true for San Francisco, where the Columbus Day Celebration and Italian Heritage Parade has taken place for more than 140 years. Denver hosts one of the largest Columbus Day parades in the country, while Boston's North End and Chicago hold their own marches. Miami even hosts a regatta for the occasion.

Again we'll note, however, that not everyone feels this is a day to be celebrated -- at least not for the reasons presented. As a counterweight to San Francisco's Columbus Day festivities, nearby Berkeley hosts Indigenous Peoples day -- giving its people the day off and hosting activities and events in recognition of Native Americans. Even San Francisco's Columbus Day visitors will get a reminder of the other side of the argument if they visit Alcatraz, which was occupied by Native American protesters from 1969 to 1971. Remnants of that occupation remain to this day.

In South Dakota, the state holiday that falls on Columbus Day is known as Native Americans Day. It still results in a day off, which would be great news this year for tourist-heavy Rapid City if the government ended its stalemate long enough to open Mount Rushmore to visitors. On that day, however, perhaps it would be better form to visit the nearby, non-federal Crazy Horse Memorial instead.

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