The Chandelier Room at Casa Italia was transformed into a Milan runway for this year’s Columbus Day Queen Pageant, and event organizers couldn’t be more pleased. “It was like a Versace fashion show!” enthuses Jo Ann Serpico, executive director of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans. “We had 22 contestants, the room looked absolutely beautiful and the event went off without a hitch!”
Serpico is equally proud of the fact that no admission was charged, paving the way for a capacity crowd of nearly 200 family members and friends. Elizabeth Cavalieri Konopacki walked away with the crown, and Elisabetta Bifero, Jenna Marie Panega, Gabriella Rago and Marissa Raimonde emerged from a crowded field to serve as her court. Serpico showered praise upon the more than 30 volunteers who worked hand-in-hand to stage one of the most successful pageants in recent memory.
The Chandelier Room was impeccably staged by Darrell Marchioretto, Nancy Cometa and the Casa staff, and enchantingly decorated by Rose Mary Ranallo and the JCCIA Women’s Division. Marilyn Cusimano Fredericks once again served as pageant director, and Pat Capriati performed ably as emcee. Eight-year-old Annina Garro sang the American and Italian national anthems to the delight of the crowd, and DJ Anthony Cassano kept the audience entertained between segments of the pageant. Escorts Joseph Serpico and Paolo Mazza were dapper in formalwear provided by Emanuele Tuxedo in Morton Grove.
An all-star panel of judges included Catherine De Orio, Mauro Glorioso, Stone Park Mayor Beniamino Mazzulla, Douglas Olson and Kathy Sciambiatterra. While the panel adjudicated, audience members partook of a sumptuous sandwich buffet compliments of Tony’s Fresh Markets at high-top tables provided by Mayor Mazzulla. Parade Chairwoman Mariann Gullo crowned the new queen, Pageant Chairman John Galluzzi presented her with a bouquet of roses and Serpico adorned her with her sash. “It was a true team effort, and it sets the stage for an even more spectacular pageant next year,” Serpico predicts.
— Photos by Darrell Marchioretto
This posting submitted by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans