NIAF News Releases



Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

George Randazzo, chairman and founder of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (NIASHF), gave the keynote address during the 2010 Festa Italiana Luncheon at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. The September 21 luncheon kicked off the 23rd Annual Festa Italiana in downtown Seattle, September 25-26, 2010.

Randazzo reaffirmed the importance of sports today because it brings people together. He entertained the more than 150 guests with stories about Mario Tonelli who played for Notre Dame in 1938 and Frank Zamboni who invented the Zamboni machine. “We are so thankful for so many Italian American athletes that changed and improved the world of sports,” Randazzo explained. He closed his speech with a video about the NIASHF and all past and present Italian American sports legends that have been inducted into the NIASHF Hall of Fame.

As part of the Frank J. Guarini/NIAF Media Forum, Seattle’s local broadcast media attended the event to network with colleagues, learn more about NIAF’s initiatives and meet prominent local Italian Americans. This year CBS, ABC, NBC and PBS affiliates were represented. The journalists were hosted by Gerard V. Centioli, a NIAF area coordinator for the State of Washington and president and CEO of ICON LLC in Seattle. Julie Francavilla, morning and noon anchor at KIRO-TV (CBS), served as media host. In 2005, Francavilla gave the keynote address at the luncheon.

Each year Festa Italiana and The Italian Club of Seattle honor an outstanding local Italian American with the annual Gill Centioli Memorial Award. This year’s award was presented to Armandino Batali, founder of Salumi Artisan Cured Meats, by Gill Centioli’s son, Gerard Centioli.

Armandino’s wife, Marilyn, and children Dana and Gina were in attendance. Since their son Mario Batali, was appearing on NBC’s “Today Show” that morning, he forwarded a surprise letter “Man of the Year 2010” that Centioli read to the guests. Batali received a standing ovation when he accepted his award.

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