Steve Shire, owner of the well-known Sammy Carlo’s food business on Bennington Street, and Barbara Puopolo, a leader of a seven-generation East Boston family, have announced plans for the first Italian Heritage Celebration, to be held Sunday, Oct. 9 at the Salesian Boys and Girls Club in East Boston.
Shire and Puopolo appeared at Monday’s Harbor View Neighborhood Association meeting where they made a brief presentation about the festive, outdoor celebration of Italian heritage.
“There’s going to be a lot of entertainment and music, just a fun get-together,” said Scire. “The event will be similar to a block party.”
The celebration is being held on the day before the traditional holiday honoring Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer who discovered America in 1492. East Boston and the North End alternately held Christopher Columbus Day parades since 1937, but no parade is scheduled for this year.
“The Italian heritage is still strong, and it is celebrated at the State House every year,” said Scire, whose grandfather, Carmelo, emigrated from Italy and opened a food market in 1927. “Judge [Joseph] Ferrino was a great advocate for that event, and we wanted to carry that tradition forward.”
Puopolo said the plans are still evolving for the day’s activities. “The event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m.,” said Puopolo. “We’re getting in touch with vendors who want to work with us and provide slush, ice cream, and things like that. We also plan on having a DJ for the music. We have a dancing school and an accordion player that will be part of the celebration, and we hope to have a cornhole tournament.”
Puopulo describes the event as “a family-oriented, casual gathering of friends celebrating our Italian heritage – and everyone is welcome.”
Scire is hopeful that the Italian Heritage Celebration will become an annual tradition in East Boston.
“We’re going to kick it off like a spark, and then hopefully we can expand on it next year and people can look forward it – especially after what’s happened the past two years due to COVID,” said Shire.
“Honestly, if we can plan this and kick this off and it goes well in a matter of only weeks, then now we have a year to plan for what will happen next year,” said Puopolo.
The two event coordinators made it a point to thank Michael Triant, executive director of the Salesian Boys and Girls Club, for his support of the event.
HVNA on Board With Heritage Day
Charles (Skip) Marcella, chair of the Harbor View Neighborhood Association HVNA), said the group is “on board with this event [Italian Heritage Celebration].”
“The [Columbus Day] parade has been long-standing, coming through this section of East Boston, and Steve Scire has been very instrumental in the parade, as well as helping this area to celebrate it. And this is an opportunity to revitalize that tradition,” said Marcella. “I think people miss having the parade, and he wants to bring back the feel of that celebration. Hopefully, a lot of people will attend and be able to enjoy it. It’s going to be a fun time.”