October was full of festivities and celebrations for those of Italian Heritage. The chief celebration this year was NIAF’s annual gala weekend in Washington, DC. As the National Italian American Foundation kicked off its 43rd Gala Weekend, Italian Americans from all over the country poured into the nation’s capital to take part.
The weekend began with the cutting of the ribbon ceremony at NIAF’s new museum in Washington DC that pays homage to the Italian immigrant. This was followed by a grand evening of culinary perfection and photo opportunities with guest of honor, Lidia Bastianich.
On Saturday, NIAF hosted EXPO Italiana, which featured some of the world’s best distributors of wine, food, coffee, cigars and more. Open panels discussed various issues surrounding Italian Americans. Over two-thousand people visited the Expo to experience the various products and learn more about the vendors at their booths.
Saturday evening, at the Marriott Wardman Park grand ballroom, a sold-out attendance was dazzled by an array of guests while dining on Pugliese delicacies. Singing both the National Anthems of Italy and the United States was Italian tenor, Marco Fiorante.
Amazingly, opera singer Carlos De Antonis brought the crowd to their feet with a standing ovation for his tantalizing performance of Andrea Bocelli’s “Con Te Partiro.”
Taking the cake, Ambassador Peter Secchia, a NIAF board member, was announced to have given a 1.5 million-dollar donation to NIAF. This news ignited the ballroom into thunderous applause.
The air in the ballroom was so electric because it was fused with pride, love, and awe. The conversations in Italian and English, the clamor from cutlery, and the music all gave life to the room in a way that stands up to time. Forty-three years is a great streak for any annual gala.
We highly recommend you get your tickets as soon as possible for next year so that you can see the magic in a room when you are amongst the most successful Italians in the world.