OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – Welcomed with open arms.
“The trip is awesome. The Italians, the people of Carlentini, the mayor of Carlentini, they rolled out the red carpet for everyone in Omaha,” said Mike DiGiacomo of the Santa Lucia Festival.
It’s more than just a trip to Italy. It’s a journey that connects Omaha families with their loved ones in Carlentini. The first time for many.
“Many people on the road bond with relatives they didn’t know existed,” DiGiacomo said.
As the friendly towns continue to seek a twinning agreement, this journey has been marked by ceremonies, traditions and celebrations.
Including a park dedicated to the city of Omaha, now known as Omaha Park.
“A truly moving tribute and a true testament to the partnership and, you know, hopefully the long-term relationship that Omaha has with Carlentini. It’s just amazing,” DiGiacomo said.
They even got in on the Husker fun, after Mike hung up the Husker flag.
“The people of Carlentini were laughing and smiling, and cheering on Nebraska. It was pretty cool,” DiGiacomo said.
And the big part of the trip was the Santa Lucia Festival. Although Omaha has its own, celebrated in July, visitors to Carlentini get a taste of where all the festivities began.
But Mike said it looked a little different.
“This in Carlentini is really, you know what the origins of the festival are. That is, you know a religious and denominational festival,” DiGiacomo said. “The Omaha one is too, but we’re more focused on food and entertainment.”
Mike hopes that after this trip, the relationship between the sister cities will happen relatively soon.
“It’s such a natural partnership with sister cities, it just makes sense,” DiGiacomo said.
Monday evening was the last night of the festival and Mayor Jean Stothert will return to the United States on September 10.
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