Our Columbus Day Celebration was quite impressive and successful! This year it was of the utmost importance to be energetic, enthusiastic, and visible to the world amid all the dissention concerning Christopher Columbus. We willingly displayed our “Pride and Positive” position for our Italian Heritage and ethnic pride.
Under the direction of Cav. RON ONESTI our Columbus Day Celebration began with a rally at Arrigo Park, where the statue of Columbus once stood. By Ron's invitation, it was well attended by elected officials and other speakers who support our endeavors to uphold our ethnic traditions.
The elected officials and speakers were: Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri, DuPage County Commissioner Peter DiCianni, West Central Municipal Conference of Mayors Richard Pellegrino, Elmwood Park Village President Angelo “Skip” Saviano, Alderman Jason Ervin, Alderman Walter Burnett, Alderman Patrick Thompson, Alderman Nick Sposato, DuSable Museum President/CEO Perri Irmir, JCCIA Officer Pasquale Gianni, Anthony Rago-IAHRF, Franklin Park VFW Post 974 Paul Lo Parco, Alex Tennant & Dean Dalaly-The Knights of Columbus, State Representative La Shawn Ford, Meleika Gardner-We Will Organization, Commander Gabriella Shemash-012 District Police, Italian National Anthem Vocalist Jack Muccio, and American National Anthem Vocalist Gabriella Rago.
Attendees included, JCCIA Officers: Lisa Ryan; John Galluzzi, Christine Cerami, and Lissa Druss Executive Committee, ARSA, ONIAC, Teamsters Council 25, LICNA, CIAO, and the Chicago Police.
Numerous volunteers from the “Little Italy” neighborhood were instrumental in creating a memorable salute to Columbus. We wish to acknowledge the following volunteers:
Antlonio Belsito, Bella Brucato, Calo Bucaro, Jenny Capuano, Luke Capuano, Cav. Ron Onesti, Frank Concialdi, Madia Crudele, Frank Di Paolo, Frank DiPiero, Joe Esposito, Janet Esposito, Joe Laricchia, Johnny Maggio, Joe Martino, Phil Musco, Theresa & Dan Nicastro, Tony Ocean, Nick Pontarelli, Bob Provenzano, Nick & Phyllis Psyhogios, Paula Riccio, Danielle Spizziri, Carlo Vaniglia and Volunteer Stephanie Johnson - Assistant to Cav. Ron Onesti, Onesti Entertainment.
A car parade around Arrigo Park was coordinated by Louis Rago and son Joseph and assisted by the event marshalls; Jim Bassi, Dan Italia, Anthony Italia, Pasquale Genova, Ray Garro, Michael Rago and Shawn Sisk.
Then onto Casa Italia for a outdoor mass which was officiated by Father Richard Fragomeni, and Homilist Father Anthony Pizzo including concelebrants: The Reverends Chris Aleti, Giovanni Bizzotto, Charles Fanelli, Jose Manuel, Jerome Soku, and Albert Trimari. Music provided by Liliana Bartolotta. I also thank the 30 member honor guard of the Knights of Columbus.
THE “Abondanza” luncheon was provided under the direction of DOMENICO GAMBINO and CLAUDIO ULIVIERI ,This feast was made possible through the generosity of our Italian Restaurants and Vendors at no cost to the community.
The bountiful buffet was provided by Casati Pizzeria-Stefano Casati, Elio Bartolotta Pizzeria-Elio, Fenice Catering-Mark Triggiano, Forno Rosso-Nick Nitti, Greco Foods-Eddie Greco, Mia Francesca-Scott Harris, Palermo Pizza-Giacomo Falluca, Perfect Pasta-Mario DiMarco & Pietro Camaci, Rose Imports-Joe Talarico and Bartolo Maniscalco, Sal Camaci, Stefani Prime-Phil & Anthony Stefani, Supreme Lobster-Dominic Stramaglia, Tempesta-Agostino Gustofino, Trattoria Porretta Restaurant-Giovanni Panvino, Turano Baking Co.-Tony Turano, Tony's Finer Foods-Domenico Gambino, Vero Gelato- Angelo Lollino and Volare-Benni Siddu.
Needless to say, I wish to thank the many volunteers at Casa Italia who made the orchestration of this event possible:
Paul Basile, Nick Caiafa, Christine Cerami, Cyndi Chmura, Mina Colucci, Nancy Cometa, Peter De Bartolo, Christopher De Bartolo, Max DeVito, Frank Di Piero, Domenico Gambino, Stephanie Johnson, Bill Lowendick, Bartolo Maniscalco, Darrell Marchioretto, Jackie Mazza, Phyllis Menako, Ron Onesti, Tony Pertucci-Antonio Pertucci Jr.-Chiara Pertucci, Fred Pincente, Mario Salerno, Gisella Salerno, Phyllis Schoene, Cav. Jo Ann Serpico, Pina Stefaneli, Renee Szczytko, Gina Tornowski, Claudio Ulivieri and Deb Yaccino.
Thank you all,
You are GREAT and I am GRATEFUL,