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Local Italian tradition strong

Rotterdam Sons of Italy exceeds 500 members, becomes second largest lodge in state

The Rotterdam Sons of Italy Lodge No. 321 reached 500 members after inducting five new members during its regular meeting on Monday, April 16. From left, Michael Pastore, Anthony Facci, 500th member Lorietana Pinto, President Louis Fazzone and Michael Mascitelli with his father, Gino.

The Rotterdam Sons of Italy Lodge No. 321 reached 500 members after inducting five new members during its regular meeting on Monday, April 16. From left, Michael Pastore, Anthony Facci, 500th member Lorietana Pinto, President Louis Fazzone and Michael Mascitelli with his father, Gino. Submitted photo

— He credited the new location being “very attractive” and when members bring friends to events for the boost in membership.

“People come in, they like what they see, and they join — and they’re still coming,” he said.

Every year, he said there would be some members that leave due to moving out of the area, economic constraints or older members passing away. Making sure there is a constant flow of new members of all ages is what helps secure the lodge’s stability, he said.

Outside of promoting Italian culture and heritage, the club reaches out to support other community organizations or causes and offers scholarships through the state Grand Lodge.

“We support a lot of communities … not just Rotterdam but all over,” Lodge Trustee Dolores Scalise said.

The lodge hosts many activities, Fazzone said, with a dinner hosted nearly monthly, bus trips and other cultural events. The lodge also has a bocce league starting this month and golf tournament in July. The lodge will host a pancake breakfast on Sunday, May 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with tickets available at the door.

A new event Fazzone said he’s planning to hold is a get-together with members bringing a food dish that is unique to their region of origin. He is also hoping to bring the popular Italian operatic pop teenage trio of Il Volo, translating to “The Flight,” to a local venue for a performance.

“There is a lot of activities and that is what keeps people coming and that keeps people interested,” he said. “Today you want to be progressive, you don’t want to be static and have the membership drop off.”

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