June 15-17, 2017 - Downtown Canton, Ohio
2015 - Steve DiPietro & David DiPietro
2014 - Father Thomas G. Bishop
2013 - Judge Taryn Heath
2012 - Vince Lemmo
2011 - Nancy Coletti
2010 - Ange Monastra
2009 - Judge Francis G. Forchione
2008 - "Louie" Mattachione
2007 - Dr. Mark J. Pellegrino
2006 - Sam Coletti
2005 - Thomas Bernabei
2004 - Judge Sara Lioi
2016 - John B. Sirpilla, Posthumous
John B. Sirpilla was an accomplished Italian American from Canton, Ohio who achieved great success in his careerand left a legacy in the Stark County community by his generous commitment to family, community and philanthropy. In 1933, he was born the third child of six children to parents Anthony and Mary (Trace) Sirpilla who immigrated to the United States from Sora, Italy. John graduated from Timken High School in 1950 with a focus in the Machine Shop vocation. He met the love of his life and partner, Veronica Domiano, in 1955 at the St. Anthony’s festival. They married in 1958 and had three children Renae, Laura, and Johnny. Laura is married to Andy Bosworth and Johnny is married to Susan Sirpilla. The principles of his life were based on faith, love of family, commitment and hard work. He spent his entire life working to make a difference for the lives of his family and his community.
John grew up in the humble Southeast end of Canton where there was a large Italian population. In 1943, when he was just 10 years old, a tornado took his family’s entire home while he and 6 other family members were in the house. They lost everything, but their family was safe which was what was most important to them. His business career began in 1950, at 17 years old, when he along with brother Art bought a gas station with the help of their Uncle Harry Trace. John and Art founded Sirpilla Brothers Service Station. After Art saw an advertisement in a magazine for pop-up campers, John thought that was a product and lifestyle which would become very popular. In I959, they founded Sirpilla Trailer Sales which later became Sirpilla RV Super Center. The company grew rapidly into a multi-store operation that, at one time, had four locations. When Art Sirpilla sold his share of the business, John B. Sirpilla concentrated on consolidating the separate locations into a sprawling dealership located on I-77 in between Canton and Akron. As family was the most important thing to him, he loved when his oldest daughter Renae Sirpilla joined him in the business in 1984. She led Marketing and managed Inventory Control and RV Buying. In 1989, his son, Johnny Sirpilla joined him as a partner and eventual successor.
Truly an entrepreneur, he along with his wife Veronica and daughter Laura Bosworth, founded the clothing store Laura of Pembroke in Cleveland, and in 1989 relocated the business to Canton. Under Veronica’s and Laura’s leadership, it continues to expand and not only specializes in clothing but home furnishings and interior decorator services as well. John loved that all of his family were involved in his businesses.
John was famously known for his signature “Ba Da Da Booma Booma” jingle in commercials that promoted his business. He loved his Italian heritage and would often play the jingle on his saxophone on the Sirpilla RV float in the Timken Grand Parade while being surrounded by his family.
John B. Sirpilla was involved in many community activities including the Stark County Italian American Festival. In earlier years, he donated RVs to accommodate the performing celebrities while they were on the fairgrounds. Other contributions included being Chairman of the fundraising committee for the Chapel at Walsh University as well as for the sports complex at St. Thomas Aquinas High School which they in turn honored him by naming the football stadium Sirpilla Stadium. Other awards he received included the Walsh University Distinguished Service Award and the Ohio Commodores Award for Ohio Businessmen of Distinction. He served on various boards such as Walsh University, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Glenmoor Country Club, Shady Hollow Country Club, the Ohio Commodores, and was involved in various fundraising capacities. He was inducted in to the Amateur Sports Hall of Fame in Canton as an outstanding pitcher, and sponsored various fumbleball, baseball, and bowling teams.
His greatest and most defining moment though was being a grandfather. His grandchildren brought him his greatest joy and he was committed to being there for them at every event and teaching them the values which believed and lived. His memory lives on with them and the entire family by their daily memories and their actions so that his family continues to make an impact in the community where John began.
2003 - Samuel J. Ferrucio, Jr.
2002 - Alfred A. Olivieri
2001 - Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr.
2000 - William & Yolanda Campolieto
1999 - Nicholas L. Boscia
1998 - Mayor Richard D. Watkins
1997 - Msgr. Dacian O. Barrette
1996 - Guy M. Cicchini
1995 - Philomena "Fannie" Falcone
1994 - Msgr. James P. McLaughlin
1993 - Joseph Bulso
1992 - Tony Diano
1992 - Columba Meola
1991 - Salvatore J. DiPietro
1991 - Gulielmo A. "Coach" Shori
1991 - John D. Ferrero
1990 - Philip Mastroianni
1990 - James V. Armogida
1989 - Joseph C. Cerreta
1989 - Judge Anthony Flex
1988 - Dr. James Pagano
1987 - Judge LeRoy J. Contie, Jr.
Past Dedication Recipients
01/16/1933 - 11/24/2005
The Italian Festival Dedication Award is presented to a member of the greater Stark County community who has made a positive impact on the Italian community in particular, and the entire community in general. The Award recipient is recognized as an individual who appreciates and espouses the true spirit and goals of the Italian Festival. The Italian American Festival Foundation & our entire Stark County Italian Community is proud to salute & dedicate our 2016 Festival to John B. Sirpilla.
John B. Sirpilla's posthumous dedication award will be presented to his wife and son at the Italian Festival Dominic J. Bagnoli Sr. Awards Breakfast on Friday, June 24, 2016.