Duluth Italian American group celebration features presentation on historic church

St. Peter's Church, Duluth, MN A night of Italian history, food, wine tasting, and the music of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin is coming to the Northland this evening.

Sponsored by the St. Louis County Historical Society and the Italian American Club of Duluth, the second Culture & Cuisine event will be happening from 6 to 9 p.m. in The Great Hall at the Depot on 506 W. Michigan St.

Culture & Cuisine is a fundraiser supporting the St. Louis County Historical Society along with the Italian American Club of Duluth.

A presentation will be given on the Italian American culture in Duluth by David Woodward, a professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth and member of the Heritage Preservation Commission. An important part of the presentation includes the efforts to preserve St. Peter’s Church as a local landmark and prevent its demolition.

“It’s not a religious thing for me. We can celebrate our diversity by preserving,”  Woodward said.

St. Peter’s Church is located on 818 West Third Street, a neighborhood that was once called "Little Italy". It was a central hub for Italian-American immigrants.  Due to the cost of maintenance, and lack of attendance, the doors have been shut since 2010.

The church provided stability and community for these immigrants and because of that Woodward said he believes it is worth preserving and getting the local landmark status.

Italian cuisine is an important part of the evening. Dinner will be catered by Valentini’s Vicino Lago (Valentini’s by the Lake). There will also be a wine tasting sponsored by Super One Liquors.

Todd Eckart, a local lounge singer, will feature songs from Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin for the entertainment portion of the night. There will also be a silent auction.

Attendees can expect to have fun, mingle with others, and have a family style type of meal. There’s no seating arrangement, so it’s a great way to meet others in a fun and friendly environment.

The cost for  Culture & Cuisine is $40. The event is limited to 200 people and tickets are selling fast.

Kristi Johnson, one of the coordinators for Culture & Cuisine said, “We had this event in 2012 and it was sold out.”

Tickets for this event can be reserved by calling 218-733-7586 or emailing Kristi Johnson at Kristi@thehistorypeople.org.

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