More than 600 men attended the 80th anniversary of Viva La Panza! (Hooray for the Belly!) Oct. 24 at Todaro’s Party Center, hosted by the Italian American Professional and Businessmen’s Club.

The event began in 1938 as a small gathering of politicians and Italian businessmen in the rear of the Belt Line Grocery Store on Grant Street, owned by current IAPBC President Joe Licitri’s great-grandfather, Joseph James Licitri.

State Rep. Anthony DeVitis read a proclamation from the Ohio House of Representatives congratulating the IAPBC for Viva’s long run. Co-chairmen Ralph Trecaso and John Montisano said the event raised more than $95,000, adding to the total of more than $1 million over the event's history to fund scholarships for local students of Italian descent and charitable contributions.

Lifetime IAPBC memberships were presented to the LaRose family, Anthony Alexander, Gary Didado, Rob Nestico, Gino Faciana, Peter Spitalieri and Anthony Manna. Master of ceremonies was Jasen Sokol of 1590-AM WAKR radio, and committee members included Rocco Caponi, Dom Rizzo and Joe Maite.