Bridgeport’s Columbus Day weekend celebration is scheduled to include two free concerts by the 50-member Quantico Marine Corps Band, a Sunday parade and an Italian festa on Madison Avenue.

Columbus, an Italian sailing for the Spanish crown, was the first 15th century European explorer to reach the New World.

Festivities will feature the Quantico Marine Corps Band on Friday, Oct. 6, and Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport. Concert-goers are asked to bring nonperishable items to the Klein prior to concerts for distribution to veterans in need.

Established in 1918, the Quantico Marine Corps Band from Quantico, Va., is one of the oldest professional musical ensembles in the Marine Corps. The 50-member band is scheduled to play patriotic favorites, such as John Philip Sousa marches, as well as symphonic selections. It is under the direction of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Robert A. Szabo.

“We’re very excited about coming back to Bridgeport this year,” Band Master/Master Sergeant David J. Wilson said. “We enjoy bringing the band on tour to take part in Bridgeport’s Columbus Day Celebration. The citizens are fantastic and we always play to a packed auditorium.”

The 109th Columbus Day Parade, one of the oldest continuous parades in the state, steps off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8, in Bridgeport’s North End, starting at the corner of Wayne Street and Jewett Avenue and proceeding south on Wayne Street to Madison Avenue, finishing at Micalizzi’s Italian Ices/Ice Cream Shop.

Richard Iannucci, this year’s parade chairman, helped to organize more than 75 units that comprise the parade roster. Also featured will be the Pyramid Shriner “racers” and clowns, Chester Fife and Drum, Fairfield Gaelic Pipes and Drums, an Italian marching band from Brooklyn, N.Y., an Italian dance troupe, the Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard, the Shelton combined High School and Intermediate Bands and Guard, and floats, including a replica of the Santa Maria with Christopher Columbus at the helm.

On Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. a celebration of Italian culture and heritage will take place in and around Micalizzi’s, 712 Madison Ave. Music, Italian food and treats, activities for children, such as face painting and walk-around magicians and jugglers, will be featured.

“We have a great festa in store for the entire family, including a cannoli eating contest. So join us for lots of fun,” said Jay Piccirillo, festa chairman.

Marine Corps Band concerts, Klein Memorial Auditorium, 910 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport. Friday, Oct. 6, and Saturday, Oct. 7, both at 7 p.m. Free, but tickets are required, available at Lupe’s Drug Store, 3129 Main St., Bridgeport. 203-374-0600.