Culture & Education Committee

Culture & Education Committee: Frank Perrecone, Bea Giammarese Ricotta, Rosie Scalise Sheridan

Culture & Education Mission

This committee’s mission is to preserve and protect our rich Italian Heritage and Culture. It achieves this by teaching the Italian Language and celebrating events such as Carnevale, the Columbus Day Mass, and its correlation with the Hall of Fame. The committee is very active in presenting Italian folklore, traditions, history, and videos to school children throughout the area. There is an E-mail form and a Comment Form on this page where students may ask questions about Italy and locate needed information. All of our events are posted on our Welcome page, please check there for all upcoming GRIAA events. Lectures on various timely topics are presented, as is information about genealogy and preserving our oral history. We present workshops that revive the Sicilian St. Joseph Altar “Spera” and other Italian traditional foods of the past, and classes learning the art of Palm Weaving are also offered during the Lenten season. The Italian Gallery of the Ethnic Heritage Museum also displays various themes relating to our culture. The Museum is located at 1129 South Main Street. Phone 962-7402 for further information. The Saturday and Sunday nearest December 12th, St. Anthony of Padua Church becomes the center for a special Mass honoring Santa Lucia where anyone with eye maladies may receive a special blessing, and during the Christmas season, one learns of the “Ceppo” and La Befana stories. By preserving these beautiful Italian traditions, one develops a deeper appreciation and understanding of our heritage and culture.


This year at Festa Italiana…

Preserving Our Past…. Planning Our Future

Our Italian culture is one steeped in rich history and traditions. That’s why it is important for Italian Americans to keep in touch with their roots and share their pride and heritage. Our association was founded in 1980. Originally known as The Columbus Day Committee, the Greater Rockford Italian American Association (GRIAA) strives to follow our mission given to us by the original Rockford Italian charter members. These members have celebrated the Italian culture and have given meaning to the true roots of our heritage.

Mission Statement

To promote the Italian culture, sponsor social events and activities, and perform works of charity and philanthropy benefiting the local Italian-American community.


A non-profit organization headed and staffed solely by volunteers, GRIAA serves as a conservatory of Italian culture and traditions. It provides the community an opportunity to experience the customs and traditions of Italy firsthand by participating in a variety of educational programs and public events provided by our GRIAA Committees.

If you would like to serve on one of the GRIAA Committees or have any questions or comments about GRIAA, e-mail us directly at