Manton Seniors continue tradition with Italian Gala


Sometimes, it’s the theme that sets the tone for a special event.

Then, there are times when food is the main focus.

And, of course, there’s the always-interesting attire that gets people talking.

Such was the case Sunday, when all three things came into play at famed Twelve Acres in Smithfield during the Manton Seniors annual Italian Gala.

People came early, in fact, and stayed much longer than expected for an Italian-themed event that Lorie DeVito called “one of our best galas in quite some time.”

For official purposes, Sunday’s party marked the 39th anniversary of the Manton Seniors Italian Gala.

DeVito, who has served as president of the independent senior citizens organization for the past 16 years, went so far as to say “this was very nice. It was without question one of our better parties of the year and a great way to pay tribute to our Italian-American members.”

The organization’s tireless president also noted: “It’s always important to uphold any tradition, not just that for our Italian-Americans.”

“I’ve only been around for the past 16 years,” said DeVito, who keeps her family tradition going in memory of her late husband and former Manton seniors vice president William “Bill” DeVito. “But people like Mary Cerra can tell just how much fun and important the Italian Gala has been through the years.”

Cerra, who serves as the Manton Seniors recording secretary, is a former Johnston Town Council member and one-time state representative who has made caring for all senior citizens her business. Sunday, she sat beside the non-profit group’s corresponding secretary, Rose Coppola, and compared notes of those Italian Galas of yesteryear.

All three women, though, were in agreement – Sunday’s version was indeed super and special.

“The Calamari Brothers did another super job today,” DeVito said of the Manton Seniors’ official musical group.

There was yet another ingredient that made Sunday’s annual event special.

“This food is fantastic,” DeVito said while praising Twelve Acres general manager Joe Silvestri and his staff. “But the food is always good here. That’s what makes us keep coming back and back.”

Sunday’s menu included wine, minestrone soup, antipasto, pasta, veal parmesan or scrod, biscotti and even the famed Italian ice cream known as spumoni.

And to top off the Manton Seniors’ 39th annual grand gala, DeVito raffled off 28 high-quality items that ranged from Italian food and wine baskets to a homemade afghan and a number of decorative household items.

So with its Italian Gala in the books, what’s next for the highly active Manton Seniors?

“It’s our annual Christmas Party,” DeVito quickly noted, “but first we’ll have our December meeting – with lunch – and the annual election of officers.”

The election-luncheon is set for Tuesday, Dec. 2 at the Johnston Senior Center, where Manton Seniors members will have an opportunity to have lunch before the 1 p.m. business part of the meeting. Lunch, of course, is optional.

Former Manton Seniors treasurer Tom Bianco will serve as chairman of the nomination committee. He’ll be joined by Graclyn Travison and Marion Moretti.

The Manton Seniors Christmas Party is set for Sunday, Dec. 14 at Twelve acres, which is located off Douglas Pike (Route 7) in Smithfield. Tickets are $30 per person, and the day’s menu will be roast prime rib of beef or baked stuffed shrimp. The Calamari Brothers will supply the day’s music, and people who’d like tickets should contact Coppola.

Anyone who’d like further information about the Manton Seniors should call DeVito at 401-232-2499.


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