“Gabriele Salvatores is the ideal artist to preside over the current edition of this festival. His love for our country, his support and his...
What is your idea of a perfect Ferragosto, the traditional Italian mid-summer feast? To this question, many of you would probably answer: good weather, good food, good wine and limoncello, good espresso coffee, good music, and – last but not least – a group of good friends.
Being an Italian American newspaper at the service of the Italian American community, this would be our answer as well. And every year we do our very best to offer to our subscribers a typical Italian Ferragosto party that recreates the cheerful and relaxed atmosphere, as well as the pleasure of being together and celebrating the Italian cultural heritage.
Hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Josephine Barbera at their private residence in San Marino, this year’s fundraiser took place on Saturday, August 16, with the participation of approximately 130 attendees, who really enjoyed the evening.
As soon as the guests arrived, they were welcomed with gift bags and refreshing drinks, provided by our sponsor and friend Manuela Zaretti from Ventura Limoncello, who also offered limoncello and arancino after the dinner. The delicious food - appetizers, salad, pasta, and main course - was prepared and catered by Nick D’Egidio’s Portofino Italian Restaurant in La Habra, CA. The dessert, spumoni gelato, was donated by Gelati Celesti in Redondo Beach, while authentic espresso coffee was served throughout the evening by Matteo Pasquini.
A fun pizza contest was also held, thanks to the contribution of 5 different pizzerias located in nearby areas, which delivered their best pizzas to be judged by our 4-member jury. The winners, who will receive a special award from L’Italo-Americano, were Olio Pizzeria in the category “Best Sauce and Ingredients Ratio”, and Neapolis Trattoria for “Best Cheese and Topping.”
Italian virtuous guitarist Patrick Abbate was invited to play live and entertained the audience with lounge background music during the first part of the event, followed by the exciting performance of the Orange County Opera. They staged in English Gaetano Donizetti’s two-act comic opera The Elixir of Love, featuring 5 singers – baritone, soprano, and other powerful vocal ranges - and a pianist. The show, usually targeted at children and young people, was slightly adapted in order to meet the taste of an adult public, and it was engaging and highly appreciated.
Besides quality entertainment, the 2014 Ferragosto event also became an occasion to acknowledge one of the most valued and prolific contributors to the newspaper, Professor Ken Scambray. He received his PhD in American Literature from the University of California, Riverside, and works as a professor at the University of La Verne, department of English, where he teaches American and North American Italian literature.
Author of poetry and fiction, since 1978 he has been the book and film critic for L’Italo-Americano, publishing over 250 reviews on Italian and Italian American film and literature. In recognition of his editorial contribution and his commitment to promoting the Italian culture and language, Mr. Robert Barbera bestowed on him a special award. In his acceptance speech, Professor Scambray stated that he is very proud to collaborate with the oldest and best Italian American newspaper, and he praised the professionalism and successful vision brought about by the publisher and the director.
A second award, the “Albert J. Casola Prize”, was presented by Paul Romano, President of the Patrons of Italian Culture, to Marco Saglimbeni of Chapman University. This annual scholarship, a result of the Albert J. Casola Trust, follows a long-standing Patrons’ tradition of funding for worthy college students of Italian descent with the purpose of promoting the Italian heritage and culture and the furthering of their higher education in Italian studies.
Before introducing and thanking all of our generous sponsors and donors, the director of L’Italo-Americano, Simone Schiavinato, took the floor to explain the newspaper’s latest achievements and innovations. He underlined the growing outreach of the paper from only 2 up to 8 Italian communities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Orange County, San Jose, Portland, Seattle, and Salt Lake City. By the end of 2014, also New Mexico and Texas will be involved with the aim, as he said, of “raising awareness of what’s going on in surrounding States in terms of Italian American communities.” Both he and Mr. Robert Barbera feel very proud of the results achieved by L’Italo-Americano over the last 3 years, evolving from print to multimedia and now reaching over 300,000 readers.
The ice on the cake, the most awaited moment of the entire evening, was the final raffle drawing, including 4 prizes of extraordinary value. Starting from a cash prize of 500 dollars, the stakes went higher and higher thanks to the following: 2-week language study package in Palermo, Sicily, with I Fiori Blu di Sicilia; 7-night stay at Marriott Newport’s Coast Villas offered by the Barbera family; 2-night stay package in 3 different locations at five star hotels in Italy - Lake Garda, Florence, and Padua – provided by Escape Artists, whose representatives were in attendance.
The proceeds from the raffle will benefit the newspaper and its constant development, enabling us to guarantee the highest quality and variety of information for our readers and supporters.