"It's a culturally fun night," said Marchetti, who was once again the chairman of this year's Italian Night that was held Oct. 22 at the Elks Lodge on Boulevard East. "There is a lot of food and a lot of camaraderie. It's a wonderful way to raise money for our Elks charities and honor the Italian heritage at the same time."
In the beginning, when Marchetti conceived the idea, he received help from one of the most beloved of the Weehawken Elks, namely the late Buddy Backle. But Backle passed away a few years ago, leaving Marchetti to need more help.
This year, there were several others who helped Marchetti coordinate the event, like current Weehawken Elks Exalted Ruler Phillip Greco, who is also the executive director of the Weehawken Free Public Library; Dominic Facchini, Public Safety Director Jeff Welz, and Mayor Richard Turner.
"I became an honorary Italian for the night," Turner said. "Everyone in the room was either Italian or an honorary Italian. It's just a nice event, a dinner/dance that gets everyone involved and turns out to be a great way to raise money for charity. I know Jim Marchetti has spent a lot of his own time trying to keep this tradition alive."
This year, for the first time, Marchetti had to have the dinner catered. His usual chefs, Tom Gray and Jon Zeeb, were not available to do their masterful job of cooking, so Marchetti had to bring in someone to feed the hungry customers.
"Usually, I'm up at the Elks rolling the meatballs and cutting the chicken cutlets," Marchetti said. "It's usually a lot of work."
Helped charitable causes More than 150 people were in attendance to help the cause. Most of the proceeds of the evening went to fund several of the Elks' many charitable causes, like Camp Moore for handicapped children, aiding United States military veterans who have special needs and children with special needs, as well as providing scholarships in a variety of educational programs.
"We are really able to do some great things," Marchetti said. "It's especially rewarding to me to see the crowd come out every year."
And there's always a moment when Marchetti reflects about his mentor.
"Buddy taught me how to be a true Elk," Marchetti said. "I will never forget what he meant to me. We're now able to do things because of what he did early on. I do get a good thrill out of it every year. The satisfaction comes when the people are having a good time, and they're there to support the Elks."
Marchetti said because of the success of the Italian Night festivities, the Elks Lodge is working on promoting more events.
"Now that we're back in the Lodge, it's easier to have more events," Marchetti said.