There was an unusual step back in time, coupled with fun, food and fellowship, that generated over $5,000 for injured, disabled and homeless veterans and their families.
It was, as the 6 x 9 menu card read, in part: the Disabled American Veterans Giovanni Folcarelli Chapter 1 annual Oldies Dinner-Dance held Saturday night inside the Kelley Gazzerro VFW Post 2812 that’s located on the Cranston-Johnston line.
However, the event was much more than an ordinary oldies dinner dance.
In short, the organizing committee, which included Chapter 1 Commander Jack Hill, Adjutant-Treasurer Ray Denisewich, Lillian Macera, Jackie Brodeur, Susan Denisewich, Ernestine Vota, Dennis Caldarone, Charles “Chuck” Palumbo and Judy Collins presented an extraordinary event that pleased the palates and pocketbooks of 190 people.
Perhaps never before, at least not in recent memory attendees like the sisters Folcarelli – Linda and Donna – will readily attest, as the ageless VFW hall been decorated in a way like it was Saturday night.
The night’s theme and decorations took people back to the 1950s and early 1960s with large photographs of automobiles of those years, rock and roll and Hollywood stars and period pictures that included a collage of Rhode Island’s once iconic and highly popular drive-in movie theaters of that bygone era.
Even the centerpieces were automobiles, made of paper, of the 1950s and 60s that were loaded with candy that anchored red and black balloons and inflatable balloons that had pictures of cars like the 1957 Chevrolet.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Steve Messier, a West Warwick native who once owned and operated the popular Sports Page Bar & Grill on Providence Street and whose late brother Brian’s name is remembered in form of the town’s most lucrative and important scholarship foundation. “This event is off the charts.”
The dance portion of the night was made special by The Dream Weaver, Karaoke DJ Tony Weaver, who played music dating back to the 1950s and 60s that people danced to throughout the evening.
Add to that a smorgasbord of fantastic food from Ralph’s Kitchen and Catering and it’s no wonder that people were already asking for tickets to the 2019 Oldies Dinner-Dance.
The buffet-like dinner that was served by Ralph’s staff included salad, bread and butter, pasta with marinara sauce, veal and peas, sausage and peppers, chicken cacciatore, meatballs, coffee and ice cream dessert.
There was an unusual raffle of a red wagon that held bottles of liquor worth $500 and the winner of the 50/50 raffle took home 532 bucks.
There was even a special singing of “Happy Birthday” to Guyde Lombari, who turned 72, and was among the sold out crowd that showed its love, respect and caring for the nation’s veterans in form of raising $5,000 that will go a long way in helping them find homes and help after they’ve so bravely served the country.