The Northern Ohio Italian American Foundation (NOIA) is thrilled to launch CIAO! – a unique event creating an Italian experience – in Cleveland. CIAO! will be a day-long celebration of Italian culture; kicking-off Italian Heritage Month. Italian vendors featuring traditional dishes to nosh on, specialty drinks and unique goods and services will line the scenic waterfront on the Flats East Bank.
The concept for CIAO! came about while Dominic Spitalieri, a local Clevelander and music producer, attended an event at City Hall where fellow Italians received an award for their work in the community during Italian Heritage Month a few years ago. The event wasn’t well-publicized nor was it well-attended. After the event, Spitalieri started brainstorming ideas on how to share the Italian culture with others in the Akron/Cleveland area. And CIAO! was born. “People like us – 100% Italian – are rare in the U.S., especially today. It gets harder and harder to hold on to your roots. As an active member of NOIA, whose mission is to perpetuate the Italian culture for generations to come, I thought what better way to do that than by hosting an event that embraces our culture and heritage in the city we love.” Once presented with the idea, NOIA was quick to get on board as the Presenting Sponsor.
CIAO! will feature a pop-up coffee bistro from Caruso Coffee and a mini-grocer to purchase Italian fare. The Alfa Romeo Fiat of Strongsville Entrances will showcase their finest vehicles and the Medical Mutual Demo Tent will present demonstrations such as “Mozzarella Making with the Miceli’s,” “Italian Gardening with the Petitti’s,” “Baking Bread with the Best by the Orlando’s,” something special from Fabio Salerno of Lago East Bank, and, of course, a wine tasting! Petitti’s Kids Corner will entertain the younger generation.
No event would be complete without live entertainment. CIAO! will present musical entertainment throughout the day and into the night. Italian acts, DJs and Cleveland’s favorite 80’s cover band, the Spazmatics, will grace the stage with everything from traditional Italian classics to high energy dance sounds.
“Our goal is to provide a complete Italian experience in just one day!” Spitalieri says. “No Italian credentials needed. Come on down to the Flats East Bank and you will feel like famiglia!”