Two hundred and fifty people braved stormy weather to attend Vino Italia Wednesday evening. Karen Joliet and Tomasina Elabsky co-chaired the event at the Akron Civic Theatre, a prelude to the Italian-American Festival held at Lock 3 Park over the weekend. John Villelo said the event’s proceeds would benefit Italian-American scholarships and The Arc of Summit and Portage Counties. Leeanne Saro, executive director of The Arc said they were happy to be partners at this great event.
The Civic lobby was decorated with touches of Italy, where John Trecaso joined Michael and Laurie Kadair and her parents Ron and Sharon Ross to hear Michael Sonata sing songs made famous by Ol’ Blue Eyes.
Vince Murdocco, president of the Italian-American Society, said he was happy to have so many guests to sample Sicilian wine and food from area restaurants. Gruppo Mezzacorona provided the Wines of Italy, while Verna Whitmere, Carol Cottrill and Trish Numbers passed out wine glasses. Ryan Salobecke served roasted meatballs and artichokes in a lemon butter sauce enjoyed by Donna and Dave Garthoff and their son, Charley Wade and his wife, Kathy; Tony Nicolino; Mary Lou Silvers and Tony Gatto.
Aron Shreve and Eric Sine served arugula filled tacos from Café Bricco; Jonathan and Malissa Kiser offered meatballs from Prime at Anthe’s; Troy Beesch offered Lasagna from Bravo; and Rafael Vaccaro served confit of pork carbonara style to Joni and Ron Murgatroyd. John Hudson admitted to his wife, Megan, that he couldn’t find any food he didn’t like at the event.
Zach Francis offered delicious mango and lemonade Italian ices from Rita’s while Steve Linek circulated through the room offering iced coffee drinks. Chad Fuller served bruschetta from Nicolleti’s Park Place; Colin McGown served watermelon wrapped shrimp from d.b.a.; and Mary Randall from Spennato’s Italian Ristorante served pasta amatriciana with her signature sauce.
Emily Dutton and Amanda Bruce enjoyed cookies from Ninni’s Bakery with their wine, as did Nate Sole and Sonja Bansal. Greg Stricker offered watermelon and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes from Cupcake Binge; and Beth Shaub and Kevin Hornish made sure everyone tried chocolate samples from the Hartville Chocolate Factory.