- October 10, 2021
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A Lorain tradition returned Oct. 9 with a tribute to two brothers dedicated to family business more than 50 years in Lorain and Vermilion.
Hundreds of people came out for food, drinks and music at the Festa Italiana of the Italian American Veterans Post 1, 5678 Oberlin Ave., Lorain.
There was pasta, sauce, meatballs, sausage and pizza to celebrate Italian culture while raising money for the IAV Post.
The veterans group also presented plaques to show appreciation for the support of Joseph and Pete DelMonico, twin brothers and now senior statesmen of the area’s barbershop community.
Although he has known the brothers for years, Post Commander Leo Citro said the first DelMonico he met was their father, Frank.
“Frank taught his sons the importance of hard work, dedication and endurance, because they’re still working,” Citro said. “When I first heard that twin brothers in Lorain were both barbers and on top of it, Italian, that tells you it was the best of both worlds.”
An Army veteran, Joseph DelMonico is an active member of the Italian American Veterans.
Pete DelMonico is post supporter and neighbor to the north. His shop is at 4485 Oberlin Ave.
“Joe and Pete are proud of their hometown of Lorain and their Italian heritage,” Citro said. “Their support to the Italian American Veterans Post 1 and our great country goes unquestioned.”
The brothers agreed the tributes were an honor and a pleasant surprise.
“I was just informed about a week ago, in the city of Lorain I’m the oldest established barbershop with the original barber right now in the city of Lorain,” Pete DelMonico said.
“It’s good and bad, because that means I’m old,” he said with a laugh. “I always tell people, to me, 52 years seems like 10, but if you don’t like something, 10 years feel like 50.”
He attended with his wife, Linda, and their son, Jeff, now a 22-year barber in his father’s shop.
“He’s the backbone of the shop, too,” Pete DelMonico said.
Jeff wore a DelMonico shirt with white print on black in the style of the movie “The Godfather.” Part of its message: “I’m gonna give you a haircut you can’t refuse.”
Their colleague, barber Joe Kapucinski, also was there.
Joseph DelMonico served in the Army in the Vietnam Era. He was named Lorain’s Veteran of the Year and has served as the Italian American Veterans national commander.
Those both are great honors, he said, but the community recognition was special.
“When you’ve been in the community for so long and they do that … but it’s different when you’re honored in your hometown and they’re people that you know,” Joseph DelMonico said.
He attended with his wife, Gina, and their son John, also a barber at his father’s shop in Vermilion. They have another son, Joe, and grandsons Giovanni, Gino, who also is a barber, and Antonio.
They said they were pleased their shops and the Festa Italiana were rebounding from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Festa was larger in the past with guests inside the building and outside. The 2021 event was inside only, but there was a steady stream of diners.
“I’m pleasantly surprised because we didn’t know what to prepare for with the pandemic,” said Bambi Dillon, IAV Post 1 president of the ladies’ auxiliary and men’s quartermaster.
She credited her brother, Robby Dimacchia, their sister, Heidi Gedling, and helper Lynne West for running the kitchen, along with another 15 to 20 volunteers selling meal and raffle tickets, drinks and helping as needed.
Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley offered a proclamation declaring Oct. 9 as Italian American Day “for the purpose of celebrating and bringing the Italian culture in the city of Lorain.” Bradley was not able to attend in person so it was presented by Tony Gallo, president of the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce.
The Italian American Veterans Post 1 holds a carryout spaghetti dinner 4 to 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month. In December the post will have a pancake breakfast.
The Post will hold a stuffed shells and Italian sausage dinner 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 3. Veterans who bring identification will eat for free, along with spouses and children age 18 and younger.