Access to education and programs hasn’t gone into quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Howard County Library System’s 2021 Evening in the Stacks fundraiser offers patrons the chance to immerse themselves in Italian culture from their living rooms. The event, “Serata Virtuale,” brings together the best food, wine, a cooking demonstration, dancing, books and more.
Proceeds from this program will be used to purchase STEM, art and literacy learning activity kits for students in kindergarten through 12th grade and Chromebooks and hot spots for Howard County residents without internet access.
“Serata Virtuale” will kick off with a private cocktail hour and will be emceed by Elsa M., host of WMAR-TV’s “Midday Maryland.” Throughout the event, guests will be able to enjoy Italian cuisine and wine from Tino’s Italian Bistro, Aida Bistro & Wine Bar and The Wine Bin.
As they tickle their taste buds, guests will virtually tour Italy as they enjoy fun, educational activities that include winemaking at an Italian vineyard, a pasta cooking class with Chef Francesca from Agriturismo Diacceroni, truffle hunting and a dance party with live music from Matera, Basilicata.
Bibliophiles will get to have an interactive conversation with three authors, Pauline Frommer, Juliet Grames and Adriana Trigiani. Each of their books touch on different Italian aspects including culture, language, family and heritage.
For the event, each author will give a short presentation on their books, the stories they tell and what inspired them before inviting participants to join a live Q&A.
Grames, author of “The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna,” grew up surrounded by Italian Americans and found a passion for sharing the untold stories of female immigrants. Her book, inspired by her grandmother and great-aunt who grew up in Italy, focuses on Italian immigration and tells a story of family, fate, secrecy and sisterhood.
Grames immediately jumped on board when the Howard County Library System approached her about “Serata Virtuale.” “When a public library asks me to participate in something, I never say no. I consider it my personal job to support them where I can because they support everyone. They’re bending over backwards right now to think of ways to involve community members. I hope that everyone who participates feels like they’ve gotten to be part of this incredible system,” she says.
Trigiani says that she’ll be talking about what it means to be Italian in the American culture while relating it to her books and why people love the Italian American culture.
“I think folks should be ready for a lot of comedy and exchange. I want them to laugh, enjoy and have questions ready,” says Trigiani.
Her book, “Tony’s Wife,” takes an honest look at Italian American ingenuity through the love story of two individuals with this heritage as they struggle with fame, family and identity. Trigiani says she wants to showcase the contributions that this culture has made to American culture and will be kicking the door open on Italian American literature during her talk.
“I encourage everyone to take part in this magnificent event . . . . Come and have an elegant evening that supports your library,” says Trigiani. “My mother, who was a librarian, used to say that every question you could ever think of can be answered at the library. It enriches your community, and it’s the gift that gives to you.”
“Serata Virtuale” will take place Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. Ticket packages range from $55 to $275 and offer different experiences and special bonuses. The “Aperitivo” package must be purchased by Feb. 27 at 3 p.m. The “Esperienza” and “La Dolce Vita” packages must be purchased by the end of the day on Feb. 21.
Click here to purchase your tickets.
Editor’s Note: Baltimore Style is a media sponsor of Howard County Library System’s “Serata Virtulae.”