featuring speeches from Catiana Celentano, founder and owner of Let’s Play in Italian Language and Cultural Center in Scotch Plains, Nick Netta, Owner of Netta Architects In Mountainside and Dr. William Connell, Seton Hall Professor and Italian Studies Historian
The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced that Union County’s ninth annual Columbus Day Flag Raising event is set for Friday, Oct. 6th, at 1 p.m., on the steps of the historic Union County Courthouse.
“This year, we have a very diverse group of speakers who will address the audience on some interesting cultural topics,” said Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, who is emceeing the event. “Italian-Americans continue to make extraordinary contributions to the rich, diverse fabric of America—a country we all love, and who our ancestors helped discover and build.”
The keynote speakers are local business owners Catiana Celentano (“Let’s Play in Italian” language and cultural center in Scotch Plains), Nick Netta (founder and owner of Netta Architects in Mountainside), and Dr. William Connell from Seton Hall, an author, and a nationally-recognized historian on Italy.
“Let’s Play in Italian” language and cultural center presents a fun and an educational way for young children, adults, parents or caregivers to learn the Italian language and the Italian culture. The school is the only state-licensed Italian educational school serving pre-K and kindergarten in New Jersey.
Since its founding in 1993 under Mr. Netta’s leadership and creative direction, Netta Architects have become a leading public sector design firm in Northern New Jersey, and has received numerous design awards. Under his direction, Netta Architects consistently achieves design excellence and has the unique opportunity to design a large number of landmark buildings.
The company has also left a significant footprint of its work in Union County, completing many major projects, including the Union County Family Courthouse (Cherry Street Annex), the Warinanco Park Sports and Skating Center, the Galloping Hill Clubhouse, Vo Tech West Hall, and Union County College expansion at Cranford.
Mr. Netta maintains an active role in all projects and was as appointed by the Governor, to serve on the State Board of Architects which regulates the profession within the State of New Jersey. He has also served as a past President of that board.
Dr. Connell is the holder of the Joseph M. and Geraldine C. La Motta Chair in Italian studies at Seton Hall, and a leading specialist in the history of Italy and an authority on Renaissance Florence and Machiavelli, will also speak.
Other scheduled speakers at the flag raising include: Union County Freeholder Al Mirabella, who is emceeing the event this year, County Manager Al Faella (who is being honored by the Elizabeth Chapter of UNICO as Man of the Year later this month), Plainfields’ UNICO Founder Renato Biribin, Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition President Manny Alfano; and UNICO National Membership and Retention Director Anthony Bengivenga (also a business owner in Cranford). Additionally, resolutions will be presented to all Chapters of UNICO in District X.
UNICO is the nation’s largest Italian American service organization whose chapters and members engage in promoting and defending Italian culture and heritage, as well as providing scholarships, engaging in community service and other philanthropic endeavors.
The courthouse is located at 2 Broad St. in Elizabeth at the corner of Rahway Avenue. In the event of rain, the program will be moved indoors to the County Courthouse Rotunda.
UNICO District X and Plainfields’ UNICO work to organize and co-sponsor the event.
Italian-style refreshments will be served after the program in the historic Union County Courthouse. Parking (pay) is available in the Midtown area at the J. Christian Bollwage Parking deck at Elizabethtown Plaza and Caldwell Place. A second deck is Elizabeth’s Parking Deck No. 6 on Jefferson Avenue and Dickinson Street—the entrance is on Dickinson Street.