Sudbury’s annual four-day Italian festival returned to the Caruso Club on Thursday. The inviting smell of sausages, meatballs and pasta was wafting up and down Haig Street.
Caruso Club has played host to this community event for over 46 years, with each year being just as memorable as the last.
“I remember having the picnic on Richard Lake, and it was so much fun. It was like a big family gathering,” Claudia Manoni, entertainment chair for Italian festival said.
The annual festival features authentic, homemade Italian food, friendly kids competitions and bringing in the extra flare the Italian choir.
“We like to celebrate Italian culture and listen to music and the food is a must-have for any Italian gathering,” Manoni said.
Adding some zing to this year’s Italian flavour was the sausage-making competition.
Participants are provided with meat and are asked to add their own flavours, which is then judged local residents.
Last year’s winners, Joe Spagnolo and AJ Rocca, we're back to defend their crown.
“About two weeks before the competition we get together and start prepping for the competition,” Rocca said. “We have one little girl who judges our food and if she says yes then it’s a go.”
The proceeds from the festival are given directly back to the club to support its yearly operations and various programs such as the Italian language club for seniors and children.
“I am a first-generation Canadian, I grew up in an Italian-speaking home and I would like that my kids can speak Italian just as well,” Manoni said.
The festival attracts not only the Italian community but also residents living in the area.
“I live in the area and have always enjoyed Italian music and their food, so I keep coming back,” Brenda Robichaud, resident said.
For Italians living in Sudbury, Caruso club members are just part of their extended family.
“I basically grew up in the Caruso Club, we would come here for events like these, play and take part in competitions. I made so many friends and memories,” Sabrina Drigo said.
“I hope that our kids can share some of the same experiences,” Manoni said.