La Carota Gennaio 2024

January 2024                          LaCarota

Presidents Message:

Hello my fellow Club Paesano Members. How are we all doing? As always, I hope it’s healthy, happy and safe of course! I know that in last month’s newsletter I said that I couldn’t believe that we were already nearing Thanksgiving. Well, this month’s newsletter I’ll say that I can’t believe we are only a few days away from Christmas day. By the time you get this, it may already have passed! I hope that you all have had time to do all of your Christmas shopping and been able to prepare the house with decorations, lights and the greatest tree you could find! If you are hosting Christmas eve or Christmas day, I hope that you all have had time to do your preparation and it turns out to be the best Christmas ever. As a kid, the day couldn’t get here fast enough. We spent all year figuring out what we wanted from Santa Claus, going through all of the store catalog’s toy sections, cutting out the pictures and posting them in a card to Santa or on the fridge for mom and dad to look at and add to their list. It was such a simple time when we were kids. I love watching the “Christmas Story” every year at this time because young Ralphie reminds me so much of myself and how our Christmases were like back then. Very cold and snowy, but it was some of the best times that I can remember. I hope that you all enjoy both Christmas Eve and Day surrounded by your families and friends. In Italian tradition, eat a ton and enjoy and have a Happy New Year!

Christmas Dinner:

Our Christmas Dinner was held on Sunday December 10th. As always, it did not disappoint! We had roughly 240 members and families combined this year. What a fantastic turnout! It was great to see some faces that I hadn’t seen for a while and to see all of the smiles on the children’s faces. They had a blast in the “Kid’s section” and when Santa Claus arrived! The little ones couldn’t contain themselves when the “Big Guy” finally made it into the lodge! Once again, the food didn’t disappoint. We had smoked Tri-Tip, chicken, potatoes, veggies, salad rolls and dessert. What a meal. Our caterers are definitely a keeper. We will make sure to have them back next year. I’d like to thank Chris Calcagno who played good Ol Saint Nick at this dinner and for the last 24 years of having our celebration. I’d also like to thank my daughter Adriana for manning the spinning wheel and the kid’s play section for us. She always has a great time doing it. Also, I’d like to thank the members that came in that morning to help set up and decorate. The Christmas Dinner is also the time that we bring in our newest Board of Directors and say goodbye and thanks to the ones that are leaving.  Thank you to long time board member and Secretary, Jimmy Siri. Jim has spent a long time on the board and always brought a spark and creativity to us, along with his detailed minutes and famous “Weather Report”. “It was a sunshiny day and the temperature was a warm 80 degrees”!  Always great stuff from Jim. Jimmy also never hesitates to help out the club with whatever is needed, whether it be ideas or manual labor. He has also volunteered his heavy equipment for landscaping or whatever else is needed. We also would like to thank Doug Burchak. Dougie has always been a solid contributor to the board and his constant hard work is duly noted. Doug has spent many hours at the club helping with just about anything you could imagine and also donates equipment and knowhow whenever he is asked. A rockstar and a member that any club would love to have on their roster! Thank you, brother! I’d like to welcome Phil Potestio and Marc Battilega as our newest Board members. Marc will be taking on the Secretary’s role. Neither of these fellow members need an introduction as all of you know them already and what they have done and still contribute to our wonderful club. Marc has been a former President on 3 separate occasions and Phil has served as our VP and board member in the past. Both of these members know what it takes to run a board and we all look forward to working with them both. Congratulations goes out to Jim Calcagno for winning us 

“Member of the Year”. Jimmy is always there for the club and never refuses to help. He’s a past winner and continues to bring his love and passion for the club year after year. I know when I call Jimmy for assistance, he’s always ready to lend a hand and his experience. The prototype for a terrific member. The member of the year is always a tough vote, because there are always a good 5 or 6 members that could be awarded the title. The members that are constantly there for the club and that are always there to help out in whatever way they can, without asking or hesitation. I wish that we could hand out multiple awards. Great year Jimmy C! At our Christmas Dinner we also introduce our newest 2024 members that were voted in. Our newest members were interested in the club and had shown the desire to become members no matter what I said to them… LOL!  They would not be discouraged or denied! They all understood what it was going to take to become a part of our club and what we all expect from them. They were all determined and happy to become a part of our growing family. I’d like to introduce Steve Leonetti, Tom Allabastro, Bob Bevilacqua, Donna Sunsiri, and Mike Rossi, the grandson of our very 1st President, Aldo Rossi. I welcome you all and look forward to your participation, ideas, and fellowship. Thank you.

The Fun Committee:

This past Sunday, a very jolly and merry group of Paesano’s gathered and made their way to the “Silverton Christmas Market”. There’s nothing like adding a group of very festive Italians to the mix, and you know how we Italians like to celebrate the holidays, especially Christmas time! It was a “FUN” Time from the word GO, or ANDIAMO! We had a cooler full of holiday cheer, a box full of charcuterie and sweets! What’s an Italian party without plenty of food and drink? Even if we had gotten lost in the woods, we could have survived for at least a week on all we brought! Silverton puts on a great Market, with tons of lights, scenes, vendors, food and a pretty nice lodge to sit and warm up in. A terrific time there, was followed by a fun and tasty dinner at “El Charrito ” in Molalla. Like I said, what’s an Italian party without a tremendous amount of food to be had! It was a great way to end a Fun & Fantastic Club Paesano outing. I would really like to thank Jim Siri. Jimmy volunteered one of his big buses and his driver Ricardo. This was so nice! We had such a fantastic time being able to ride on the bus all together. It was fun to be able to eat, drink and speak to everyone all together without having to worry about driving and having 16 different vehicles to park once we got there. We were all together, from start to finish. Such a great time! Thank you so much Jimmy Siri. You made the trip for all of us! Ricardo and his wife were fantastic too. We adopted them into our Italian famiglia for the evening. I can’t wait to do it again next year! I’m sure that we’ll have more outings lined up for this upcoming year along with other events at the club. Stay tuned for upcoming events here on “LaCarota” and in emails I’ll send out to you all. Our Monday Night Social will be taking a small holiday break and will return on Monday, January 8th. If you have any Fun ideas that you would like to see happen, please let me know about it so that I can help you get it going or at least get the word out to our membership.

Superbowl Party:

Our Club Paesano Superbowl Party will be held on Sunday February 11th. Doors open at noon. No time like the present to start planning on being there. This event is open to the public, so please invite all of your family and friends. It’s one of the best watch parties out there. 3 huge High-Def projection screens, sound system, squares and side bets. Our bar prices can’t be beat, and an all you can eat buffet, for the low, low price of $15, which you can just pay at the door. Where else can you go and get all of this for such a low price. Our club is huge, so you’ll have plenty of room to spread out, relax and have an unobstructed view of the game. We also welcome you to bring your own favorite most comfortable chair as long as it has rubber or smooth feet (don’t want to scratch the hardwood floors). What other place in town would allow you to do that, besides your own home, and furthermore, there’s no mess to clean up, but hopefully some of you will stick around to help clean up. It should be quick and easy. Anyway, make your plans to attend now. I’ll put a reminder in next month’s newsletter too.

Carnevale Dance:

Our Carnevale Dance 2024 will be held on Saturday February 17th. Doors open at 5:30pm. Our Charity will be Calabarzon. They were our last year’s Carnevale charity as well. Their charity raises money to take dentists over to the impoverished towns in the Philippines so that they can do dental work for the children of those towns for free. They did so well and raised so much money that they wanted to come back and work with us again. Of course, we said yes! They liked it so much that this year they have already purchased more tickets than last year’s event. They purchased 10 tables for the event. That is Fantastic! Let’s try to buy up the rest of the tables with our families and friends so we can have another “Sellout” like our Halloween dance. If you plan to attend, I would highly recommend purchasing your tickets sooner than later as some of the other tables are starting to sell as well. If you have a favorite table or section that you like to sit in, get it before it’s gone. That happened to me and many others at the Halloween dance. Tickets are on sale now on our website at .

They’ll make a great Christmas present! The band will be “Crescendo Skye”. As a band they are new to the club, but several of their members have played at our club before. I heard them at an event and thought that they would fit right in with our style of event and the music that we like to hear. In a couple of months, we’ll all have cabin fever and will be excited to get out and have some fun, so get your tickets now and let’s make it a winter celebration!

Paesano Bocce Club News:

Well, the bocce club is at that time of the year where there isn’t much bocce playing happening, but our Board is always working hard. We are currently having monthly meetings to organize and schedule our leagues, tournaments and fundraising events for the 2024 year. We are still in the beginning stages of obtaining information for our future plans to put a roof over our 4 “World Class” courts. You can go to our bocce website to learn about who we are and what’s going on in our bocce world. Our upcoming events, sign up to play, purchase items or just donate funds to our huge “Raise the Roof” project. If you are interested in joining our leagues next year please go on our website or feel free to speak to one of our board members, Mario Pompei, Doug Burchak, Kelly Barasch, or myself. We’ll be happy to answer any questions that you may have. I know that a few of you have joined our leagues in the last few years, and are having a fun time learning and playing the game. It’s a great way to get family members and friends out there to play with you on a team. You don’t have to be a Club Paesano member to be a Paesano Bocce Club member, so you can get family and friends that are non-Italian as well. If you don’t have a team to play on, no worries, we will find you a team to play on. We are all one big happy Bocce Family out there, so if you feel like you won’t know anyone, trust me, you will or you will really soon! We’ll even take you out there to check it out and roll a few games if you’ve never played before but are curious about the game. Stay tuned for more bocce news and schedules in upcoming newsletters.

Club Paesano Dues:

Our Club Paesano membership dues were due in June. If you haven’t paid John Kern as of yet, please make plans on paying him soon. You can mail him a check, or pay him at our next meeting. John will accept Credit cards, cash or checks. John’s a busy man, so please don’t make him chase you. If you need to pay your dues or any other payments, please take care of it. Thank you. 

Cedarville Lodge & Park Rentals:

If you or someone you know are in need of a beautiful venue to rent for an event, please think Cedarville Lodge first. The club’s bookings are finally starting to pick up again, after this pandemic, but we can still use a little help. Please contact our Venue Director, Maria Duong, at 503-577- 8471 and she will be more than helpful and gracious in getting you all the info that you may need, and to also help you with coordinating your event. 

Cedarville Park Shares: 

If you are interested in owning a piece of this fantastic place and would like to purchase shares, please contact Steve Petruzelli at 503-620-3447 or email him at [email protected] . The Cedarville Board of Directors is holding a shareholder’s meeting on Wednesday November 22nd from 7pm till 9pm. Information about the Lodge and what’s been happening will be discussed. If you are a shareholder, you should plan on attending.

Thoughts & Prayers:

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of one of our dear members, Chris Calcagno, our very own Santa Claus. Like me, I’m sure that a lot of you are reacting in the same way. I just saw him and spoke to him or took a family photo with him and told him thanks for always doing it. Chris happily played Santa Claus at our annual Christmas parties for at least the last 35 years. He made our kids so excited and happy to see and be with Santa. He even came back out on stage when he found out that not everyone had taken a picture with him yet. Chris was an easy going, nice guy and I was glad to have had the pleasure of getting to know him throughout these last few years. Chris will be truly missed by his family and his fellow members. Chris is survived by his son Ace, his sister Debra Calcagno Guthrie (our member) and his mother Virginia. I heard from Deb, that his son Ace may want to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play Santa Claus for us next year. I think that Chris would definitely love that! Please pray and keep fellow member Terry Thorud in your thoughts as well. Terry has been going through some health issues lately and could use our support. Please pray for Chris’s family, Terry and all of our members, their families and friends especially in this holiday season. If there is anyone that you would like me to add to this segment, please call or email me with any information.

LaCarota Question:

Well, we had another newcomer to the “Winners Circle” last month. This guy came from out of nowhere to snatch the “Holy Grail” out of the hands of our top 3 who were already getting ready to uncork and pour! Congratulations goes out to Vinny “My Cousin” Curletto! Way to go Vince. You’ve had your name in the running before, but this may have been a first timer for you. I’m glad to see some new names giving the regulars to the “Winner’s Circle” a challenge, once again showing that if you don’t play, you don’t win! Will Vinny start a new streak of his own and get his name up there with the likes of Mario “The Massachusetts Kid” Pompei, Jimmy “Bam Bam” Burch or Chris “Superfly” Siri, or will we get a fresh face in there again? Who knows but let’s find out.

Seeing we are a few days away from Christmas, my question has to do with an old Italian Christmas tradition. “The Feast of 7 Fishes”. This meal served on Christmas Eve usually consists of at least seven different seafood dishes. My question is this, “I want you to tell me what the number 7 is believed to represent? That is, it. The winning answers will be entered to win the Coveted bottle of Paesano Vino! Email me your answer before the start of our next members meeting on Wednesday, January 3rd.

Final Thoughts:

For this last newsletter of 2023, I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year for 2024! As I look back on 2023, and our Club, I truly believe that we had a good year and am happy with the direction that we are heading to and the future of our great club. I see a constant interest of new members wanting to join our family. We are consistently bringing in new members year after year which means a good future and shows that we are a relevant Italian Club in the Pacific Northwest. In a time when old clubs are dying out, ours continues to grow and we have people that want to call themselves “Paesano’s” which is a testament to all of us and our hard work to show this area who we are. In my last year as your President, I want to continue to see growth, some changes and different ideas coming in. I will continue to work hard and will continue to “Kick it up another notch!” I have a lot of new ideas and am looking forward to working with our new and returning board. I also look forward to getting our new and older members more involved, and aiming towards the same goals and rewards. I’m excited to see what 2024 holds for us and am looking forward to all of our events! Let’s remember all of our families and friends both near and far. Have a fantastic time with them over these holidays. Eat, drink, be merry, but most important of all, remember to tell them how much you love them! Life is too short, so take advantage while they are still here with you. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and here’s to a fantastic year to come! Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo!