Some 200 members of the Cecchetto family from Canada, the U.S. and Italy gathered in Greater Sudbury this month for a massive family reunion. (Supplied)
By Arron Pickard sudbury.com
When Antonio Agostino Cecchetto immigrated to Canada from Italy in 1904, he likely never would have imagined the strong work ethic he would instil in his family even generations down the line.
He returned to Italy in 1906 and married Elisa Italia Volpato. They returned to Canada, eventually settling in Sudbury, and started their family.
From almost the first day they settled, the Cecchetto family has hosted family reunions and picnics almost non stop, said Antonio’s granddaughters, Carol and Cheryl Cecchetto.
“When we lived here, it was yearly,” said Cheryl, speaking on behalf of the organizers of the Cecchetto family reunion that took place Aug. 5-7 on Long Lake. “Now everyone has moved on to different places, and the last reunion was about five years ago at Christmas.”
For three days, some 200 members of the Cecchetto family — coming from Italy, the United States and all over Canada — converged on the shores of Long Lake, taking part in a variety of activities designed to strengthen an already formidable family bond. Festa is the theme for the family reunion.
It’s a full-out event, Cheryl said. It took several forces to bring together 200 people.
“There were about 10 of us from different parts of the world working to make this happen, she said. “We have a number of people involved in the event business, and they used their great skills to help us get across the finish line in organizing this reunion. Christina Cassio Young was our anchor in Sudbury and she expertly co-ordinated all the ground work.”
Every event has a mission statement, and idea about what it’s trying to accomplish, she said.
“What we’re doing is continuing family tradition, and it’s our family that keeps us strong and proud.”
Obviously, family is what the reunion is all about.
“We’ve been raised with very strong Italian traditions, and there were so many Cecchetto picnics and Christmas parties,” Cheryl said. “People are meeting each other for the first time here, and it’s our hope this tradition will continue.”
Activies for the event included a boccé ball tournament and a meatball cookoff, to name a few.
Of course, food will be one of the main attractions, Cheryl said. There will be a traditional Italian buffet with chicken, lasagnas, stuffed tomatoes and baked beans, and everyone is bringing desserts.
These reunions are also a way for Cheryl and her generation to pass on the passion for family to the younger generation.
“We have about 30 kids under the age of 10 now, who weren’t here for the last summer reunion, and they’re not going to forget this,” she said. “Then the older children, between the ages of 10 and 20, they’re very excited and helping out by cutting grass, helping with tents and prepping beverages.
“That work ethic we learned through our parents, who learned it through their parents, we’re handing down to the next generation, in hopes they’ll continue, because it’s a lot of work. On top of that, everyone in the family has been assigned a job at the reunion, so everyone will feel like they’re contributing, and that’s what makes