Organizers pleased with Verdi Fest attendance


By Joel Charron

Verdi Club Community Festival has been an Amherstburg staple since 1956.

This past weekend another chapter has been written in the long, celebrated history of the festival.

“Verdi Fest” kicked off Friday evening with attendees enjoying a night of good food and country music by Rio Michaels. The good times trickled into the Saturday night with Dream Catcher taking the stage and rocking the crowd.

On Sunday morning Father Brian Jane conducted a mass in the club’s banquet hall, after which a small procession occurred around the Verdi Club with a statue of the Virgin Mary was carried.

A bake sale and a buffet that included pasta, shishkebobs and porchetta.

With Sunday designated as family day the events featured a magic show, Zoo 2 You and performance from the Catz Meow Dancers with the band One Man Out performing under the canopy outside.


Dominic D’Amore takes a shot during Sunday’s bocce ball tournament.

“All and all the weekend was very good,” said Verdi Club president Aurelio Tontodonati.

Tontodonati said he was please to see the “young crowd” well attend the festival.

“Seeing the young crowd coming out is a big plus for us,” he said. “The old guys like me are still hanging in there but you want the young crowd to step in a little bit. It seems like we are going in the right direction.”

Tontodonati also mentioned the Verdi Fest is not just for the Italian community.

“There is still a sense out there that this is just for Italians, this is very wrong” he said.  “This is a community festival. Doesn’t matter where you are from, you are welcome here. We want to open the doors to everyone.”

One of the main attractions of Verdi Fest is the bocce ball tournament. Teams from all the Italian clubs through out Windsor/Essex County and as far as London play in the tournament that lasts all day for the right to be crowned bocce ball champs.   Approximately 50 teams entered the Sunday tournament.

Tonodonati said Verdi Fest organizer, Frank DiPasquale did a good job organizing for the first time.

DiPasquale, who started planning the Verdi Fest five months ago admitted to Tonodonati although the festival ran smoothly, five months isn’t long enough for planning.

“He said he wants to start planning it in September,” said Tonodonati. “It does take quite a long time because there are so many things involved in the planning, but I’m very pleased how everything has turned out.”

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