By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 11, 2020 at 9:02 AM

If you prefer your Mardi Gras with an Italian twist, don’t miss the Italian Community Center’s 41st annual Grande Carnevale, based on a tradition that thrives across Italy, but is especially associated with the city of Venice.

This year’s event, at the Italian Community Center, takes place Saturday, Feb. 22, beginning at 5:11 p.m.

The theme of the costume ball is "È arrivato l'inverno" ("Winter has Come"), though you can opt to forego the costume and wear semi-formal or cocktail attire.

The evening kicks off with cocktails and appetizers in the ICC’s galleriea, before moving into the ballroom for dinner, dancing, performances by dance troupes Tradizione Vivente and I Bei Bambini, a silent auction and the coronation of a royal court. Later, outside of course, there will be fireworks, too.

The sit-down dinner and dessert are catered by Bartolotta Catering and includes braised short ribs of beef with Yukon gold potato puree, carrots and red wine reduction; chicken scaloppine with lemon caper piccata, campanelle pasta and seasonal vegetables; soft polenta with stewed tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and arugula salad (Vegetarian Option); and a children’s menu of chicken tenders, French fries and fruit salad.

The Peter Sciortino Bakery will stock the sweets table.

Admission is $60 and $50 for ICC members. Children are $15. Reservations must be made by Friday, Feb. 14, by going to the Italian Community Center website, calling the ICC office at (414) 223-2180 or visiting the office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 631 E. Chicago Ave. in the Third Ward.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.