Italian American Club of Venice

Gondola Dedication

We had about 90 members attend and enjoy the Gondola Dedication Ceremony on a beautiful day in sunny Venice! Following is Bruce Bastian's dedication speech:

Good afternoon Ladies & Gentleman, Executive Board members, members and distinguished guests. We are gathered here to dedicate and pay tribute. This story is as much about one man and his group of artisans as it is about a boat.

What appears before you is the restored version of a Gondola first built in 1965. The Gondola appeared in many parades and was considered the symbol of the city of Venice for some time. Eventually the Italian American Club of Venice was deemed its caretaker and it remained on or near club grounds for years. As time passed it slowly grew in disrepair. The club tried to figure out what to do with it but no solution was fostered. Finally late last year we were forced to move it from Airport Property on to our parking lot. This move served as a catalyst for me to take action. I had it towed onto our parking lot. It barely made it as the wheels were falling off. Once parked I still thought there might be some hope for a restoral, but I must say it was in dismal shape. I met with some City officials on October 26th, 2012 and it was decided that it appeared beyond repair. We have pictures that were taken that day that reflect how bad it really was. So, we were left to make a decision.

I then had a meeting with Ken McLean and discussed our dilemma. Either it is towed to the trash heap: or "Ken do you think it stands a chance at being restored or should we just chuck it?" Ken looked it over and with a gleam in his eye said he would undertake the project and was confident that he could garner enough volunteers to help him weave his magic. I went to our Executive Board and got the ok to fund the project. We started off by doing a successful fund raiser and the rest is history. Piecemeal the transformation began. The stripping of the rusty trailer and its reinforcement. Then the painting and finally the placement of the outdoor carpeting. The replacement of the wheels in their entirety. The slow process of disassembly of the Gondola itself and the stripping of its old covering. Much of the restoral took place prior to Ken heading back North in the spring of this year. Ken promised he would be back to see it finished prior to the Parade in November. He kept that promise and what stands before you is a masterpiece or as we say in Italian capolavoro. The cost of all this? $8,000.00 and still counting plus too many labor hours to count.

The name!!!! Serenita’, is fitting in that it conjures up a vision of one floating among tranquil venetian waters during a calm Italian evening on a Gondola just like the one we see here today. The name was proudly suggested by Marino Roncari.

Next I would like to thank the following people that helped make arrangements for today's festivities.

  • Linda Bastian for set up
  • Bob Houston for refreshments
  • Fred McCarthy for photography
  • Justin Terzi for food
  • Douglas McPeek for trailer repositioning
  • Joe DiMarco, Marino Roncari for preparation

Now it is time to pay tribute to all the workers present and not present that made this day possible. They will be called in the order of their involvement. First and foremost: Ken Mclean...applause, Paul Palmeri, Michael Alexandratos, Al Angelastri, Frank Uttaro, Bob Pelligrini, Joe DiMarco, Dominic Scotece, Vi Giancola, Roy Delorme, Ken Russell, Tom Santurri, Bob Santurri, Richey Serino, Ralph Maccarone, Justin terzi, & Marino Roncari.

Dedication: I now christen this newly restored vessel as SERENITA’

Thanks to all for attending, wine and cheese are now served

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