In October, GCICS welcomes back its “snowbird” members while celebrating Italian-American Heritage Month. Members always look forward to the reunion at a local restaurant featuring gourmet Italian cuisine. During our “Italian Cultural Heritage Month Welcome Back Luncheon”, the Society honors a GCICS Italian-American of the Year who is asked to serve as our keynote speaker. The honoree is a “local” who has contributed significantly to the welfare of Sarasota County residents. Past honorees include Robert de Warren, retired Sarasota Ballet Artistic Director; Victor DeRenzi, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Sarasota Opera; and Pasqualina “Lee” Peterson, a philanthropist who supported the Sarasota County mental health as well as performing arts communities.
A second traditional gathering is our La Festa di San Giuseppe. St. Joseph, the patron saint of Italy, is revered in Italian-American communities across the USA. Our special luncheon is held at an Italian restaurant on or close to March 19th, St. Joseph’s Feast Day. Traditional foods including shrimp dishes and zeppole or sfinge are served, members wear red garb in honor of St. Joseph, and attendees named Joseph or Josephina are recognized.