Celebrating Italian Families of Edmonton Society (CIFES)

The Celebrating Italian Families of Edmonton Society (CIFES) was incorporated as a society on July 4, 1996. This date, however, is not a true reflection of CIFES' historical origins. A more accurate statement would be that the "seed"¯ for CIFES was planted in February, 1994 during a Parish Council meeting at the Santa Maria Goretti Parish Rectory, where a member suggested that an "International Year of the Family"¯ committee be struck in order to celebrate families of the Italian community of Edmonton. The suggestion sparked much interest and generated an even greater discussion. A motion was made, seconded and carried. Consequently, the International Year of the Family Committee (IYFC) was formed.

The committee spearheaded and brought to fruition several interesting projects: an Italian Community Talent Festival boasting Italian talent that spanned from 4 to adult-aged performers that was offered and organized for several years; a Family Day Celebration, which welcomed entire families to an exquisite Sunday luncheon featuring both adult and child-oriented entertainment with special guests such as music composer Malcolm Forsyth and the University of Alberta Student Orchestra, which he conducted; and an Italian Culture, Sports and Pastimes Festival, which celebrated just that.

In April 1995, at another Santa Maria Goretti Parish Pastoral Council meeting, after hearing a report documenting the IYFC's activities and the manner in which these same events were received by the community, it was unanimously decided that the IFY Committee not fold, but continue promoting its events and practicing its mission statement. Eventually, this led to striking a society - the Celebrating Italian Families of Edmonton Society (CIFES).

From 1995-98, CIFES continued to offer the above events, but also added to its calendar of activities three additional projects: a monthly, January to December (excluding August) Children's Sunday Afternoon Learn, Play and Have Fun activity program; a one-week, full-day Divertiamoci Ragazzi Summer Camp offered in the first week of July; and, last but not least, the "20 Regions of Italy Extravaganza Weekend"¯ held in the first weekend of November that showcased events featuring Italian music, food, talent and educational and motivational speakers who would treat in presentation format a selected Italian theme that served to unite all 20 regions under one roof for an entire weekend.

CIFES is elated to report that it has revised and refreshed the events that it offers and, due to the overwhelming success of all of its initiatives, it selectively decided continue to offer the annual Divertiamoci Ragazzi Summer Camp and the "20 Regions of Italy Extravaganza Weekend."¯ This year, given the additional workload that the society assumed in partnering with the National Congress of Italian Canadians, Edmonton District in presenting the Edmonton Verdi Festival, CIFES has decided to resume offering the Divertiamoci Ragazzi Summer Camp in July 2014.

Today, CIFES remains a dedicated association that has struck very positive, cooperative, and collaborative working relationships and partnerships with several community organizations and most post-secondary institutions in Edmonton.

CIFES Executive

  • President: Antonella Ciancibello-Normey
  • Vice-President: Caterina Sholter
  • Treasurer: John Stroppa
  • Secretary: Cherri Burdeyny


  • Karima Afchar
  • Sandra Escoredo
  • Alberta Floreani
  • Holly Lomheim
  • Matt Lomheim
  • Yvette Stroppa

Youth Assistants

  • Adriano Aschenbrenner
  • Marco Aschenbrennerr
  • Tonia Cappellano
  • Marina Giovannoni
  • Miranda Normey

Event Materials Designer

  • Marcela Rojas-Schaeffer

Computer Related Materials

  • Pam Vona

Entertainment Coordinators

  • Edmonton Opera
  • University of Alberta, Faculty of Arts, Department of Music
  • MacEwan University: Alberta Conservatory of Music

Floral Designer

  • Elsie Morelli, Roma Flowers


  • St. Michael's Health Care Group
  • NAIT: School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts


  • Panorama Italiano, Carlo Amodio & Frank Cappellano

Piano Tuning

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