Oh What a Night!

Photo by Andy DelGiudice – NIAF
Mr. and Mrs. Viola
Mr. and Mrs. Viola

“I don’t mean to brag, but where would America be without Italians?” Emmy-Award-winning actor, NIAF Celebrity Ambassador and Sicilian American Michael Badalucco who opened the 42nd NIAF Gala at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC in honor of Sicily.

“I’m going to speak from my heart,” said outgoing COO of NIAF John Viola, mentioning his Sicilian roots, memories of his grandfather, his family and his bride of three weeks, his partners and friends. “If you were there last night and were there this morning, you could tell that this is an organization that has vigor, that has future, is prepared to move our community forward and I think that is an amazing accomplishment.” But the buzz of the evening was Viola’s colorfully designed Sicilian jacket, fresh out of Century 21.  Quipping that he wished he’d worn his own Sicilian jacket “instead of this very black jacket,” Italy’s Ambassador to the United States Armando Varricchio addressed close ties between his country and ours. “Italy is a strong partner and ally of the United States.” he said. “I see many friends here who show how close our relations are.”