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Large turnout spells success for 50th annual Italian Festival

A large number of visitors, many from out of town, returned to make the 50th anniversary Italian Festival celebration at the Caruso Club a big hit

Sudbury's Caruso Club, The Società Caruso, the heart and soul of all things Italian in the Nickel City, has celebrated the 50th anniversary Italian Festival this week with a host of activities and events for its members and the wider community.

Hundreds of club members, their families and friends -- many from out of town -- took part in dozens of club activities in the past few days. This included events taking place inside the main buildings as well as under the big tent out in the parking lot.

Angela Corsi-Raso, chair of the organizing committee, said the weekend turned out very well, which was what they had hoped for.

"It's  exactly what we envisioned when we started the plan. We wanted people to reunite. The pandemic was hard on everybody. Everybody felt isolated. We've brought back people that had attended years ago and they've come back. We've had people from Oshawa, Windsor, Toronto, coming back home for this festival," Corsi-Raso said.  

She said the organizers were pleased with the turnout and the fact that so many members worked to make it a success.

"It's a huge accomplishment to hit 50 years of an Italian festival. And it's nice that everybody came back home and they brought new friends with them. So we're sharing our culture with not only Italians, but people of other nationalities," she said.

Corsi-Raso said a big part of the event was to share the Italian Culture and heritage with the rest of the city.

"You know, growing up in Italian home, sometimes you take for granted your meals, your culture, and then to be able to showcase it," she said.  

"It's just a moment of pride for us. Like I want everybody to love being Italian. So we wanted to showcase that we have three days of Food Fair, we've had but pretty much a lot of Italy represented with different food choices. The Caruso Club has an amazing kitchen staff and it's not just spaghetti and chicken and meatballs, which is what everybody always thinks of when they pick Italian food."

One highlight of the weekend was the Porchetta Bingo where delicious roasts were won by several lucky players.  Porchetta sandwiches -- huge piles of pork roast on a bun -- were also a crowd pleaser, as was the Italian sausage and wood-oven fired pizzas. 

The weekend also featured a pasta making event, a vendor's craft fair, Tarantella dancing, choir singing and several musical events. 


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Len Gillis

About the Author: Len Gillis

Graduating from the Journalism program at Canadore College in the 1970s, Gillis has spent most of his career reporting on news events across Northern Ontario with several radio, television and newspaper companies. He also spent time as a hardrock miner.
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