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Long-time Thorold pals organize friendship night

John Persia and three of his friends are trying to bring the local community together with a Thorold friendship night; 'We’re proud of Thorold, very proud, proud that we grew up there'
Reunion organizers (l-r) Ralph Colitti, Enzo Iuliano, Eddie Kroetsch and John Persia. Bob Liddycoat / ThoroldToday

Thorold resident John Persia and three of his long-time friends are organizing a friendship night at John-Michael’s Banquet on September 11.

“There’s four of us involved and we all grew up together in Thorold,” says Persia, in an interview with ThoroldToday. “A lot of people have passed away in the last 10 years, times have changed, and things are difficult to see people. We decided we got to do it now. We’re all getting older.”

The night will have food, drinks, and music.

“We have a sit-down dinner at John-Michael’s,” Persia says. “We have entertainment. This year we got Ron Dewberry doing his Sinatra, Dean Martin stuff and a DJ for dancing after. It’s just a get-together, everyone we know and we opened it up to all of Thorold and their friends.”

This is the second year the group of Thorold friends, consisting of Persia, Ralph Colitti, Enzo Iuliano, and Eddie Kroetsch, are putting on the event. Organizing the night takes quite a lot of work.

“It is a team effort with all four of us and there’s other people that help out because you can’t do a function like that by yourself,” says Persia. “It takes a team. We’re thankful for the help and the volunteers that we get.”

Persia hopes to organize more friendship nights in the future.

“We’ll keep going as far as we can go,” he says. “As long as we’re able to do it and there’s an interest in getting together. Right now we’re doing the last couple of weeks of pushing to see if we can get some more people out.”

The last annual friendship night gathered around 260 people from all over Thorold. To get even more people involved Persia and his friends are casting a wide net.

“We’ve opened it up to our friends’ kids to try and get the younger generation involved,” he says. “There’s no barrier on age. We’re proud of Thorold, very proud, proud that we grew up there. Everybody who is involved who is organizing this is basically a lifer. It’s something nice.”

Persia says Thorold is such an important place to his friend group because of the close relationships it fosters.

“Your friends are for life,” Persia says. “Everybody we got has been there for a long time and they’re still there. That’s what’s special. You can walk down the street any time and if you see somebody that was a part of your life 50 years ago they still say hello. That’s a great thing.”

Tickets for the friendship night on September 11 are $40 and can be bought by calling John Persia at (905)-246-3039, Enzo Luliano at (905)-325-2396, Ralph Colitti at (905)-329-6132, or Eddy Kroetsch at (905)-246-3139.

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About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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