Celebrating Italian Heritage weekend

Posted: May 4th, 2018 | Featured, Little Italy Heritage | No Comments

By Tom Cesarini | Little Italy Heritage

The Buzz: A celebration of Italian heritage through sport, music, education, food, and friends is planned for May 31 through June 2. Hosted by Convivio, the three-event series will channel and celebrate the colorful history of Italian Republic Day (June 2), while treating participants to three distinctive Italian American cultural experiences involving baseball, scholarship, and music.

The Scene: The journey will kick off Thursday evening, May 31, with Italian Heritage Night at Petco Park, in partnership with the San Diego Padres, the Little Italy Association, and the Italian Cultural Center. Guests will don complimentary Italian Heritage Night commemorative hats before cheering on the Padres as the team squares off against the Florida Marlins. VIP and general admission packages are available. A donation of $1.50 will be given to each of the following organizations for every group ticket sold: Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation, The President’s Fund, and Washington Elementary School Foundation. Group-ticket information can be found on the Convivio website:

Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti (Courtesy of Sal Valentinetti)

The focus of the celebration will turn to education on Friday, June 1, as guests gather at the University of San Diego’s Gran Terraza restaurant to ring in the Mario Cuomo Scholarship Dinner and Concert. The evening will honor the legacy of the three-time governor of New York, a son of Italian immigrants, and a role model for generations of Italian-Americans. An elegant sit-down dinner and live concert, featuring Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti — the Italian-American crooner — will set the stage for the evening’s crescendo: the announcement of a $2,500 scholarship to two law students — one from the University of San Diego School of Law and one from St. John’s University School of Law — who best capture the essence, ethics, and servant leadership ethos of Mario Cuomo.

Music will take center stage on Saturday evening, June 2, at the Concert for Shelter & Culture, in partnership with the Little Italy Association. Set against the backdrop of GranTerra in Little Italy’s Amici Park, this exquisite evening under the stars will again be headlined by Sal Valentinetti — acclaimed alumnus of “America’s Got Talent” and Heidi Klum’s “Golden Boy” — who will dazzle the audience with his signature variations on beloved tunes made famous by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett. Guests will experience a concert of a lifetime while bolstering two important community causes: supporting the homeless youth of Washington Elementary School and advancing cultural arts programs through Convivio and the Little Italy Association.

The Cause: Convivio is a San Diego nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing Italian cultural identity through education and research, social enrichment, and innovative programming. Join in our online community conversation! We look forward to learning your ideas and insights as we continue to cultivate enlightening and inspiring educational and social experiences.

— Tom Cesarini is the executive director of Convivio. Reach him at

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