The weather gods smiled down on the 8th annual Italia Fest 2019 presented in collaboration with LaRose Specialty Foods and Fine Italian Bakery on Sunday, August 18th bestowing a sunny afternoon for the outdoor family festival and fundraiser.
Over 1400 guests filled the grounds at 104 Tremaine Road to partake in long-loved traditional Italian events, customs and local musical entertainment along with a full-day bocce tournament, food and beverage stations serving pizza, sausage buns, gelato and other mouthwatering treats. A new feature this year, a display of Italian sports cars including Fiats and Alfa Romeos and other primo vehicles with a People’s Choice award determined by audience votes going to a snazzy Ferrari 355!
Peter and Rosanna Conteduca, Italian Cultural Center of Milton board members, co-hosted the recognition ceremony at noon to remind the crowd that not only does ItaliaFest provide a family outdoor event for all Milton residents but also is a fundraiser for The Darling Home for Kids, “a Home Away from Home” providing essential care to families facing the daily challenges of caring for a child with complex medical needs.
Dignitaries Parm Gill MPP, Lisa Raitt MP, Trillium spokesperson and volunteer Janice Mauro, and Milton Acting Mayor John Challinor attended the festival opening making some important announcements about new capital funding totaling $120,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to ensure more accessibility to the Tremaine Road site.
“That means easier access to the site for people with limited mobility to participate more fully in the numerous events the club presents and to create a more inclusive center that is more accessible to everyone,” says Peter, “by upgrading washrooms, adding wheelchair washroom and wheelchair access with remote doors – new non-slip floors and a renovated hall to be used for community activities. We also had to fundraise to cover a portion of the additional renovations and to host the official celebration of the grant – it worked out well to do it at ItaliaFest.”
Another major milestone, the ICCM is celebrating its 50th year in Milton and to reflect the community’s growth is changing the name from Italian Canadian CLUB of Milton to Italian Cultural CENTER of Milton. “The acronym remains the same,” adds Peter. “Our tagline now is – Respect Yesterday – Embrace Today – Celebrate Tomorrow.”
Visitors to ItaliaFest checked out the new upgraded hall facilities that can accommodate 150 people and is available for rent as a spacious venue for parties, showers, and other events.
“There is a great need in Milton for a smaller facility that is cost effective for meetings, family gatherings and community events. We now have that facility at very reasonable and discounted rates for members and other charities. The revenue from the rentals will help us continue to host charity events like Pasta with Santa in December and upcoming dinner dances. We will also continue to work with our service club partners, Optimist and Rotary to expand our community events. We are all volunteers at the ICCM and always have been since day one. Our biggest need is people power to help us with events before, during and after.”
Peter sums up the positive direction that ICCM is headed. “We respect our founders who started this facility and we embrace what we have before us today and look forward to celebrating tomorrow in this great town of Milton!”